TechUS Naval Command intercepts Iranian arms likely destined for Ukraine on an Arabian Sea vessel

US Naval Command intercepts Iranian arms likely destined for Ukraine on an Arabian Sea vessel

Iranian weapons found on fishing boat.
Iranian weapons found on fishing boat.
Images source: © U.S. Central Command
4:06 PM EST, February 16, 2024

On February 15, 2024, the Command further announced that the fast patrol cutter, Sentinel, WPC 1147, stopped a fishing boat. The boat contained 200 crates filled with elements of medium-range ballistic missiles, unmanned underwater and surface drone components, military-standard communication and network hardware, anti-tank launchers, and explosive materials.

This interception is the latest in a series of routine weapons shipments from Iran earmarked for Houthi rebels in Yemen. These rebels have been intensively attacking ships in the Red Sea in recent months. It is expected that the seized Iranian weapons will be delivered to Ukraine, as has been the case in the past.

Discoveries on board the fishing boat

In addition to the components already mentioned, noteworthy items include disassembled Dehlavieh launchers. These launchers are essentially an Iranian replica of the Russian 9M133-1 Kornet-E system. They can fire off missiles ranging about 3 miles, capable of piercing over 3 feet of armored steel, even fortified with rod or reactive armor.

These missiles pose extreme danger, and the only effective known defense is the Trophy active defense system. The system can intercept these missiles at a safe distance from the armour. This system has proven its effectiveness during several conflicts in the Gaza Strip and on the Israeli-Lebanese border.

However, the shared images do not display any missile containers. It is assumed that these containers have been, or will be, transported by other means. Only the launchers, equipped with sight modules featuring a thermal camera and laser beam emitter for missile guidance, are visible.

This method, although efficient, is demanding. It requires guiding the missile up until the moment of impact, which poses a risk for the shooter. For instance, a missile at just over 820 feet per second would take roughly 20 seconds to hit a target 3 miles away. In this span, a tank can bombard the launcher's location with high explosive shells, or an unskilled user might simply miss the target.

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