We're always looking for ways to make better. Have an idea? See something that needs fixing? Let us know!

Iran: Navy
Country Study > Chapter 5 > National Security > Armed Forces > Organization, Size, and Equipment > Navy


Because of the need to defend the Persian Gulf waterway, the navy is an essential combat arm. However, in 2007 that branch, always the smallest of the three services, had only about 18,000 personnel (including 2,600 in naval aviation and 2,600 marines), most of whom had limited experience. The navy operates bases at Bandar-e Abbas, Bushehr, Khark Island, Bandar-e Anzali, Bandar-e Khomeini, Bandar-e Mah Shahr, and Chabahar. The capabilities of the navy have been limited by insufficient resources. Spare-parts shortages have plagued the navy more than the other services because Western naval matériel is less widely available on world arms markets than matériel for the other branches. In particular, arms import limitations in the late 1990s and early 2000s hampered development of amphibious warfare capabilities.

With some of the navy’s ships and weapons more than 50 years old, modernization is essential to achieving force readiness. In 2001 naval authorities announced that to achieve naval self-sufficiency Iran would begin building naval craft equipped with rocket launchers, as well as advanced gunboats and destroyers and missile launcher frigates. However, that plan had not materialized by mid-decade. In 2005 some 10 French-built Kaman missile patrol boats, carrying Chinese C–802 surface-to-surface missiles (first acquired in the 1990s, now being manufactured in Iran), were in service. Three 30-year-old Alvand guided missile frigates, four 35-year-old minesweepers, and two 35-year-old Bayandor corvettes also were in service. The operational capabilities of all those vessels were regarded as poor. The navy had no fixed-wing combat aircraft, and its reconnaissance aircraft were all at least 30 years old. All naval air equipment suffers from parts shortages and poor maintenance. Iran is believed to have manufactured sophisticated mines, using Chinese and Russian technology, which could be used to block the strategically vital Strait of Hormuz (see fig. 12). In 2005 the navy had three Soviet-era Kilo-class attack submarines. A new type of minisubmarine called the Qadir went into limited production in 2005.

Last Updated: January 2008

Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for Iran was first published in 1987. Where available, the data has been updated through 2008. The date at the bottom of each section will indicate the time period of the data. Information on some countries may no longer be up to date. See the "Research Completed" date at the beginning of each study on the Title Page or the "Data as of" date at the end of each section of text. This information is included due to its comprehensiveness and for historical purposes.

Note that current information from the CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Country Briefs, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Profiles, and the World Bank can be found on

Iran Main Page Country Studies Main Page

Section 200 of 246


Click any image to enlarge.

National Flag

(﷼) Iran Rial (IRR)
Convert to Any Currency


Locator Map