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Iran says tests "flying boat" in Gulf wargames

Written by: Staff
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TEHRAN, Apr 4 (Reuters) Iran on Tuesday successfully tested a ''super-modern flying boat'', state television said, giving another vague description of military hardware Iranian forces are testing in Gulf wargames.

The Defence Ministry was not immediately able to give a clear description of the new vessel but told Reuters it was not a form of hovercraft.

Iran's navy used to have one of the world's largest hovercraft fleets before the 1979 Islamic revolution. Military experts say only about 10 decrepit vessels remain in service.

State television did not show the ''flying boat''.

''A super-modern flying boat was successfully tested in the 'Great Prophet' wargame in Persian Gulf waters,'' state television said.

''Because of its hull's advanced design, no radar at sea or in the air can locate it. It can lift out of the water. It is wholly domestically built and can launch missiles with precise targeting while moving,'' it added.

Earlier in the wargames that started on Friday, Iran said it had tested a radar-evading rocket and the Hoot (whale) underwater missile which could outpace any enemy warship.

Iran's Revolutionary Guard test yesterday fired a torpedo which it said was being mass-produced in Iran.

State television said another missile would be tested this afternoon.

Iran rarely gives enough details of its military hardware for analysts to determine whether Tehran is making genuine advances or simply producing defiant propaganda while pressure ratchets up on its nuclear programme.

Although Iran can draw on huge manpower, its naval and air-force technology is largely dismissed as obsolete.

The United States said it was possible that Iran had developed weapons that could evade sonar and radar but warned the Islamic Republic had a tendency to ''boast and exaggerate''.

Although Iran's military technology might not be highly advanced, analysts say Iran would not need much know-how to cause chaos in vital oil shipping channels.

They say Iran could be testing arms in the Strait of Hormuz, a key tanker nexus, to dissuade Israel and the United States from taking military action against Tehran's nuclear programme.

Iran has been referred to the UN Security Council after failing to convince the world that its atomic scientists are working exclusively on power stations and not branching into weapons.

REUTERS DKS KP1428

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