Iran launched a cruise missile from a submarine for the first time during an ongoing annual military drill in the Strait of Hormuz, local media reported Sunday.
The semi-official Fars news agency reported on the Sunday launch and released an image of a green submarine on the surface of the water launching an orange missile. It said other submarines have the same capability. It did not provide details on the missile’s range.
State TV showed a video of the launch in which a missile fired from a submarine hit a pre-determined target. Adm. Hamzeh Ali Kaviani, spokesman for the drills, said “by achieving various types of sub-surface missile and torpedoes, we have completed our chain of defensive power under water.”
Also on Sunday, the chief of the Revolutionary Guard’s aerospace division, Gen. Amirali Hajizadeh said that enemies of Iran have failed to sabotage the country’s missile program. “They were trying to carry out sabotage in part by exploding missiles in the air, but they failed to do anything since we had predicted and secured,” the program, he said.
Iranian media said the missile was an upgraded version of the Nasr-1 missile the country had showcased in 2008. It was then described as an anti-vessel missile with a range of35 kilometers (or 22 miles).
Iran frequently touts its military arsenal, much of which is manufactured locally because of international sanctions. The Strait of Hormuz, at the mouth of the Persian Gulf, is a crucial bottleneck for global energy supplies, with about a third of all oil traded by sea passing through it.
Tensions have risen since the U.S. withdrew from Iran’s 2015 nuclear agreement with world powers last year and restored wide-ranging sanctions.
The U.S. is wary over Iran’s missile program that can target U.S. regional bases as well as Iran’s archenemy Israel.
Submarines, warships, helicopters and surveillance planes participated in the three-day drill, dubbed “Velayat-97,” which concludes later Sunday. On Saturday, Iran launched surface-to-surface missiles.