Who controls the Strait of Hormuz?

Azerbaijan, Baku, Jan. 6 / Trend T. Jafarov /

UK based Iranian expert Reza Taghizadeh believes that Iran, at some degree, has a strong defense capability, however military capabilities of the Persian Gulf States and U.S. Fifth Fleet in the Gulf are far beyond the capabilities of Iran.

Iran has stated that its is able to close the Strait of Hormuz at any time, and the U.S., in turn, believes that Persian Gulf is completely under control with the Fifth Fleet.

The commander of the naval forces of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Rear-Admiral Ali Fadavi said after ten days of naval exercises in the Persian Gulf to begin regular naval exercises in February 2012.

According to Taghizadeh, compared with the Persian Gulf states, naval, missile and air forces of the national army and Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps are in position to defend its borders.

Iran has four frigates. Two of them - "Jamaran" and "Joshan" missile frigates were manufactured in Iran.

Iran's naval missiles, including Ra'd, Noor, Tondar (similar to Noor but powered by solid rocket booster and range of 50km), Saqeb (modified for submarine launch), Kosar 1, Kosar 2 and Kosar 3, Nasr, Fajre Darya and Hoot serves Iran's interests in Persian Gulf, as well.

Iran's submarine force currently consists of three Russian Kilo-class diesel-electric submarines (Tareq 901, Noor 902, Yunes 903) and Qaaem, Ghadir and Nahang class submarines.

Iranian Navy experienced repeated technical problems with the Kilo-class boats largely because their batteries and cooling systems were not designed for the hot climate in the Persian Gulf.

One 500-ton Nahang and four 120-ton Yono-class (also referred to as Qadir or Ghadir-class) midget submarines and wet Al-Sabehat-15 mini submarines designed to plant mines and carry out reconnaissance missions.

According to Taghizadeh, depth of water in the Gulf is small, and for the movement of this type of submarines required depth of 60 meters. Iran has purchased these boats before the revolution in Germany and the United States. At the time, ordered the boats to be used not in the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman, Indian Ocean and the waters of Africa. If these boats will begin operations in the Persian Gulf, It won't take long before they're tracked down and destroyed.

Iran is sought to own roughly 150 to 220 battle aircrafts in total with operational ability. During the air show in 2008, some 220 planes flew above Tehran. Iran carried out an air drill in last September with an array of fighter jets, fighter bombers, cargo and transportation planes, including F-4, F-5, F-14, SU-24 fighter-bombers, Mig-29 and the logistic C-130 planes.

Iran has only six fighters of its own production - Saegheh and Azarakhsh.

These fighters went to Iran since the pre-revolutionary government (1979).

Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait altogether hold jet fighters in the amount exceeding that of Iran by 2.5 times more than Iran, plus U.S. fifth fleet holding about 250 modern fighters in Persian Gulf.

"The United Arab Emirates has 140 fighter. UAE is member of the Gulf Co-operation Union. Other members of the organization, in particular, Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia also have a strong air force. Also, Saudi Arabia aircrafts are equipped with radar installations such as "AWACS" - said Taghizadeh.

In the confrontation with the U.S. Iran can apply mining, however, "Kilo-class" submarines can carry up to six torpedoes. If Iran will take advantage of these vessels, they can fire 24 mines at a time, but then be forced back to shore.

Referring to the most powerful point of Iranian forces, missile forces, Taghizadeh believes onshore radar will not be enough to send Iran's missiles at the target.

"Over the past years, Iran has stepped up its missile capability, however, must have developed a radar system for their guidance. In order to be more effective, these radar systems shall be established on land and on board special aircraft," - said Taghizadeh.

Saudi Arabia uses the "AWACS" aircrafts made in USA, equipped with military electronics. Probability of error in the radar on the ground is above.

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