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By ARIE EGOZI
Israel is closely following the Iranian effort to develop a line of unmanned systems for sea applications.
Iran has unveiled a torpedo-armed watercraft capable of both on and underwater operations.
The indigenous submersible watercraft, ‘Zolfaqar’ is 17-meter long and weighs 22 tons. It can travel at a speed of 40 knots or 70 kilometers per hour on the surface, Fars news agency reported
Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Navy unveiled the watercraft for the first time at a public exhibition last week.
The watercraft is equipped with a four meter long torpedo capable of targeting aircraft carriers, vessels weighing up to 200 tons as well as oil platforms and loading and unloading docks.
Israeli sources told I-HLS that such system in the hands of Hezbollah will pose a “great danger” to Israeli targets like the gas reservoirs that Israel has discovered in the Mediterranean.
Iran so far sent unmanned air vehicles (UAV) to the terror organization in Lebanon. “Such systems could create big problems,” one of the Israeli sources said.
The threat of underwater terror is not new and Israel has been making an effort to deal with it.
During Operation Protective Edge last summer, a small force of Hamas naval commandos managed to approach the Israeli coast from the sea, undetected by military surveillance until the group reached the shore.
To foil such attempts, Israeli companies have been developing systems that are supposed to detect the threat.
One example is the AquaShield Diver Detection Sonar system, manufactured by DSIT, which makes it possible for the Israeli Defense Forces to identify individual divers underwater from a far greater distance from the coast.
The Israeli Navy is currently installing the system along Israel’s northern sea border, and has already installed it along the sea border with the Gaza Strip.
The system has automatic detection and tracking capabilities and it can automatically categorize different types of targets. False alarm incidence is very low, and a relatively small number of detectors is required to cover larger areas.