Coinciding with the start of its massive Velayat 4 air-defence manoeuvres and amid rising tensions over its nuclear program, Iranian defence Minister Ahmad Vahidi unveiled Iran’s newest weapon on Monday — a recon drone-launching, missile-firing, all-terrain-travelling hovercraft. One that looks suspiciously just like the ones they bought from the UK decades ago.
Dubbed the Tondar (or “Thunderbolt”), the hovercraft was designed and built domestically in Iran and can utilise similarly-sourced small arms, missiles and torpedoes during its missions. What’s more, the Tondar is reportedly also capable of launching reconnaissance drones for “offensive reconnaissance operations”. According to Vahidi, the Tondar can and will also be employed for “coastal patrolling, as a command vessel… mid-range amphibious missions, asymmetric defence, as a personnel and equipment carrier for logistical support for islands and coastal areas or as a sea ambulance for relief and rescue missions.”
Vahidi also pointed out that the Tondar is capable of travelling in excess of 100km/h through difficult, boggy, sandy or flooded terrain — so long as it is flat and relatively level. Which is odd because the Tondar, as Robert Beckhusen of Danger Room points out, looks just like an SR.N6 hovercraft, the kind Britain sold to the Shah of Iran back in the early 1970s, and only had a top speed of 58km/h. [Wired – FARS News – Tehran Times – ABC News]