Key point: Iranian navy commander Rear Adm. Hossein Khanzadi claimed the new Damavand would feature a vertical-launch system for anti-air and anti-ship missiles, potentially increasing the vessel’s magazine capacity and making it easier for the navy to add new types of weapons as they become available.
The Iranian navy, in essence, built a brand-new corvette, one ostensibly featuring new missile launchers, in order to replace a vessel that in 2018 collided with a pier.
The two-year effort underscores Iran’s effort to build up its ship-construction capabilities -- and could weigh on Tehran’s ambitious plan to develop a new class of destroyer.
The Iranian navy in August 2019 announced it would return to service the three-year-old frigate Damavand following 18 months of work. Damavand had been out of service since its January 2018 accident at a base on the Caspian Sea.
The collision killed two sailors and significantly damaged the old Damavand. Rather than refloating and repairing the corvette, Iranian engineers actually built a new hull, Offiziere reported. The new Damavand should rejoin the Iranian fleet before the end of 2019, according to Iranian media.
“Imagery available in Google Earth showed sections of the new frigate outside of the fabrication hall throughout 2018,” Offiziere explained. “By December , all sections were brought out of the hall and placed in the drydock for assembly. Between July and August 2019 the vessel was launched and berthed adjacent to the dock where it began fitting out.”
“The fabrication of new hull sections would suggest the vessel is a new-build,” Offiziere added.
It’s possible that shipwrights salvaged some of the old Damavand’s components in order to speed up construction of the new Damavand, according to Offiziere. After all, the damaged ship spent six months slowly sinking at the pier. That likely was long enough for workers to scour the punctured hull of useful materials.