As I mentioned before, my mind was working on a ''possible futuristic'' scenario involving Iran. It basically takes off from where we are now, 2012.
Brief History of Iran's Naval Forces
Iran's naval forces, like the country itself, have been shaped by the Islamic revolution, petroleum, and an often adversarial relationship with neighboring countries and the international community as a whole. These factors have influenced how Iran's naval forces are organized, how they are equipped and manned, and how they interact with external forces.
Iran had two naval forces: the Islamic Republic of Iran Navy, or IRIN, and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy, or IRGCN. The IRIN is the naval branch or Iran's Artesh, the traditional military force that existed prior to the 1979 revolution. This force was the former Shah's Imperial Iranian Navy and was originally designed to be a blue-water force capable of demonstrating the power and prestige of the Shah's Iran. Today, it consists mainly of older, mid-sized naval combatants, such as corvettes and missile-equipped patrol craft purchased by the Shah from western nations, including the United States, The United Kingdom and France. The IRIN has not fully escaped the stigma of its pre-revolutionary loyalties and remains secondary in the most respect to the IRGCN. The IRGCN emerged after the Islamic revolution during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s. The revolutionary forces not only distrusted the former Shah's military, they greatly weakened it by executing many senior commanders and conducting purgers to rid it of any loyalists to the Shah. This allowed the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps to take on a larger role in the country's defense. In addition to the Original ground forces element, the RGC also formalized a emerging naval component in the mid-1980s,following successful amphibious operations in the southern marshlands of Iraq. Over the intervening decades, the IRGCN has been politically favored over the IRIN and has capitalized on this status to acquire advanced weaponry and better platforms to develop additional capabilities.
Unlike many countries, Iran does not have a long naval history. The development of Iran's naval forces was kick-started by the discovery of Iran's petroleum deposits in the early 20th century and the country subsequent need to protect its maritime commerce. However, the Shah's navy operated under the shadow of foreign forces until the 1970s when British stewardship in the Persian Gulf came to and end.
After the British withdrawal, Iran took a larger role in protecting the Persian Gulf sea-lanes, particularly escorting Iranian merchant ships. The Shah, awash with oil revenue, provided a large defense budget and the promise of new equipment with which the navy could carry out it expanding missions. In line with the government's cooperative relationship with the West, the Shah's navy ordered missile frigates from the Netherlands, modified Spruance destroyers from the United States, corvettes from the United Kingdom, diesel-electric submarines from Germany and missile-equipped patrol crafts from France, and operated them largely according to NATO doctrine. While some acquisitions were necessary for the navy's missions, other were more for the prestige that came with having one of the strongest navies in the region. So great were the Shah's ambitions that a few western countries sought to impose limits on the Shah's quest for regional power.
The Shah's plans to dominate the regions's waters were ultimatly terminated by the Islamic Revolution. In 1979, the Shah was deposed an the nation was transformed into the Islamic Republic of Iran, led by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini. Iran's ties with the West and the defense contracts that came with them were severed, leaving many Iranian naval aspirations unfulfilled. However, the remnants of the Shah's Imperial Iranian Navy survived to form the core of the new Islamic Republic of Iran Navy.
Soon after the revolution the Iranian naval forces experienced their most active period. During the Iran-Iraq War, both belligerents staged attacks against merchant shipping in the Persian Gulf. By one estimate, 546 commercial vessels were damaged, most of which were Kuwaiti vessels attacked by Iran. Iranian naval forces executed hit-and-run attacks with small boats, fired naval guns from IRIN warships, boarded commercial vessels in search of material destined to support Iraq's war efforts, and attacked merchants using coastal defense cruise missiles.
Iran's use of naval mines during the war was, however, the most notable aspect of the maritime front of the war. During the very first escort mission of the re-flagged tankers by the U.S. Navy ships in July 1987, the Kuwaiti super tanker AL Rekkah, re-flagged as the United States super tanker Bridgeton, struck a mine. Two month's later, the United States cought the IRIN's landing ship Iran Ajr laying mines off the coast of Bahrain. Then in April 1988, USS Samuel B. Roberts hit an Iranian mine, initiating the retaliatory Operation ''Praying Mantis'' by the U.S. Forces. This list is not all inclusive, and many other incidents or Iranian mine strikes occurred troughtout the course of the war.
Today, Iran's naval forces protect Iranian waters and natural resources, especially Iran's petroleum-related assets and industries. Iranian maritime security operations guard against the smuggling of illegal goods and immigrant, and protect against the poaching and stealing of fish in territorial waters. Additionally, Iran uses its naval forces for political ens such as naval diplomacy and strategic messaging. Most of all, Iranian naval forces are becoming more and more equipped to successfully defend against perceived external threats. Public statements by Iranian leaders indicate that they would close or control the Strait of Hormuz if provoked, thereby cutting off almost 30% of the world's oil supply.
Iran's naval forces today
Since about a decade, Iran and its leaders have put up a more aggressive stand against Western countries. In combination with Iran's development and advancement of nuclear physics, most Western countries have established an unfriendly relationship with Iran. As a result of the current tension between Iran and the West, the IRIN has underwent a massive reorganization over the last few years. The most important aspect was the separation of the country's two naval forces. Since 2007 the IRIN is responsible for the Persian Gulf, whilst the IRGCN were to take the Caspian Sea area under its domain. This led to the IRIN to become the more favorable branch instead of the IRGCN.
After the Islamic revolution and the start of the Iran–Iraq War, economic sanctions and an international arms embargo led by the United States coupled with a high demand for military hardware forced Iran to rely on its domestic arms industry for repair and spare parts. The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps was put in charge of re-organising the domestic military industry. Under their command Iran's military industry was dramatically expanded, and with the Ministry of Defence pouring capital into the missile industry, Iran soon had an arsenal of missiles.
Since 1992, it also has produced its own tanks, ships, armored personnel carriers, missiles, submarines and fighter aircraft.
In 2007, following events in Iran's Nuclear Program, the United Nations Security Council placed sanctions on Iran forbidding it from exporting any form of weapons.Despite these sanctions, Iran sold some military equipment to countries such as Sudan, Syria and North Korea.
Overall Iran's military industry has taken great strides in the past 25 years, and now manufactures many types of arms and equipments. According to Iranian officials, the country sold $100 million worth of military equipment in 2003 and as of 2010 had exported weapons to 57 countries.
In 2010 a great modernization program was announced by Iranian officials, these were to include ''new destroyers and submarines, advanced 5th generation fighters using stealth technology, two new types of Main Battle Tanks and missiles that could take out a U.S. carrier in a single blow''. Foreign military observers were skeptical, especially after Iran unveiled its first domestically built 'Destroyer'. Iran was almost made a laughing stock in Western media, reporting about the long-awaited Iranian destroyer. The 'Jamaran' was to show the latest technology of the Iranian Navy, to the West it looked like a 1970s low-end patrol frigate.
Jamaran is the name of a domestically produced 1,400 tons Moudge class guided missile frigate launched in early 2010 in Bandar-e-Abbas. Iran said that the design and building of Jamaran and the missile boat Paykan were among the greatest achievements of the Iranian Navy and the ship's launch marks a major technological leap for Iran's naval industries. It is the first ship from four in its class. More ships in its class are under construction to be added to the Iranian Naval fleets in the Caspian Sea and the Persian Gulf soon. The ship is designed for a crew of 140. The Jamaran class combines anti-submarine assets with other systems of weapons capable of dealing with surface and air threats as well.
While the Jamaran has been described by the press as a guided missile destroyer, within some western military analysis circles such as Jane's Information Group and Globalsecurity.org it has instead been designated a frigate based on its displacement; the latter acknowledged that there are no "rules in these matters". Furthermore Globalsecurity.org states: 'Iran calls these ships "destroyers" but they would be classed as a light Frigate by the reckoning of all other countries.' PressTV and Iranian military are themselves describing Jamaran as a "frigate class ship" in the same article where they claim it as a "destroyer".
Despite these minor looking advancements in military technology, new sources have indicated that Iran is now building more advanced ships with domestically produced Surface-to-Air missiles, long-range cruise missiles, torpedo's and gun systems...