New Warship At IRGC's Expanded Shipyard On The Strait Of Hormuz
Iran has been expanding the little-known Qeshm Madkandaloo Shipbuilding Cooperative Co yard. The site, on Qeshm Island in the strait of Hormuz is constructing one of the three new catamaran missile corvettes for the IRGC (Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps).
I originally spotted the catamaran in low-resolution Sentinel-2 satellite imagery. I have been able to confirm it with high-resolution imagery from Planet Labs Inc (see above). It is also confirmed in the below photograph found on the shipyard's website:
CLICK to enlarge.
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Although involved in civilian work, the shipyard has a history of association with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy (IRGC-Navy). It has been is on the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office sanctions list since July 18, 2017. However it has rarely (if at all) got more attention. Since 2018 the site has been massively upgraded:
The catamaran missile corvette has provisionally been identified as the Shahid Soleimani-class ship. This new class. which has yet to be publicly displayed, is named in memory of Qasem Soleimani who died in a U.S. drone strike on Jan 3, 2020. He was head of the Quds Force, the IRGC branch responsible for unconventional warfare and intelligence in other countries.
The type was first revealed in Naval News on March 23, 2021. Since then 3 of the ships have been located and confirmed in commercial satellite imagery:
The other two are under construction at the Shahid Mahallati Shipyard in Bushehr and a small boatyard near Bandar Abbas. The Shahid Mahallati Shipyard is where the IRIS Shahid Nazeri was built, the IRGC's largest catamaran to date. The family resemblence to the IRIS Shahid Nazeri implies that Bushehr is the lead yard. Qeshm Madkandaloo Shipbuilding Cooperative Co have built catamaran ferries before but nothing as large or sophisticated as the missile corvette.
The Qeshm Madkandaloo yard was also involved in the design of the RMS-16 missile boat for the IRGC-N. That vessel is armed with the Nasr light anti-ship missile.
Artist's impression based on the satellite imagery
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