Satellite imagery shows the construction of a new Jamaran-class frigate at Bandar Anzali on the Caspian. The 94 meter-long vessel replaces the Damavand which was sunk after hitting a breakwater on 10 January 2018. The Damavand had been previously commissioned in March 2015.
Imagery available in Google Earth showed sections of the new frigate outside of the fabrication hall throughout 2018. By December, all sections were brought out of the hall and placed in the dry dock for assembly. Between July and August 2019 the vessel was launched and berthed adjacent to the dock where it began fitting out.
Around the same time, commander of the Islamic Republic of Iran Navy, Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi, claimed that Iran had recovered and refurbished the Damavand over the last 18 months. However, the fabrication of new hull sections would suggest the vessel is a new build. It is possible workers may have salvaged components from the Damavand as it took almost six months to completely submerge. If confirmed, this could potentially help expedite the fitting-out process.
Khanzadi went on to say that the vessel will feature a new radar and vertical launch system (VLS). The VLS would be a significant enhancement as Iran is not known to have constructed or fitted previous vessels with the system. For example, Iran last commissioned the Jamaran-class, Sahand, at Bandar Abbas in December 2018. Handheld video and photography released of the ceremony showed no evidence of the system.
Khanzadi has stated that the vessel will be in service by the end of the Iranian calendar year (or March 2020). However, given imagery observations in October and November as well as Iran’s long track record of delays, that could be a stretch.
Iran also has another Jamaran class hull at the ISOICO shipyard, that we continue to monitor.