Iran tests "flying boat" and land-to-sea missile
TEHRAN, Apr 4 (Reuters) Iran successfully tested a ''super-modern flying boat'' today and the land-to-sea Kowsar missile that military analysts say is designed to sink ships in the Gulf, state media reported.
The tests came in the middle of Gulf war games that started on Friday. Iranian state radio said the Kowsar could evade radar and that its guidance system could not be scrambled.
The Defence Ministry was not immediately able to give details of a ''flying boat'' that was shown on television.
The small propeller-driven aircraft floated on a trimaran hull until it took off and flew low over the surface of the water. State television said it could reach speeds of 100 knots.
''A super-modern flying boat was successfully tested in the 'Great Prophet' war game 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.'' An aviation web site showed the vessel shared features with WIGE vehicles, known to Russians as ekranoplanes.
Earlier in the war games, Iran said it had tested a radar-evading rocket and the Hoot (whale) underwater missile which could outpace any enemy warship.
Yesterday, Iran's Revolutionary Guard test-fired a torpedo 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 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 its atomic scientists are working exclusively on power stations and not branching into weapons.
REUTERS VJ KP1547