Ashura II-class fast patrol boat, Kuch-type - The Speed Demon

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A Kuch-type Ashura II-class patrol boat patrolling around Bandar Abbas in 2019.

Since the so-called “Tanker war” phase of the Iran-Iraq war between 1981 - 1983. Iran has become one of the most prolific users of speedboat. Due to a large number of conventional vessel were destroyed during the opening stage of the war, Iran has to rely on adapting a large number of civilian speedboats into a fast patrol vessel to counter the Iraqi navy. The most well-known of which is the Swedish Boghammar speedboat (known locally as the Taregh-class), of which the name is later permanently associated with a fast patrol speedboat.

An Ashura I-class speedboat during the Iran-Iraq war.

One of the lesser-known Iranian speedboat class is the Ashura-class. Originated from a Boston Whaler-type design from Watercraft UK company. The boat is very compact in size, at only 6.7 m in length and 2.3 m width. During this time, the boat is ad-hoc armed with a single machine gun and would mostly rely on the onboard crews armed with some rifles and RPGs to attack the enemy. Due to the boat’s small size and speed, it was often used for minelaying duties.

A Kuch-type Ashura II on a parade. Here, the catamaran design is clearly visible.

With the success of Iranian speedboats during the war, it is not a surprise that Iran would later develop a purpose-built speedboat to maximize the potential of the concept. As the relatively narrow Persian gulf is a gateway of Iranian waters of economic importance, fast patrol boat would be an ideal choice of covering the water of the gulf and quickly intercept any would-be intruders.

Back view of Kuch-type Ashura II-class patrol boat.

The Ashura II-class fast patrol boat, produced by the Marine Industry Organization, is essentially the concept of “speed is the best armor” taken to the extreme. The boat’s crewmen of 4 is virtually unprotected, while the boat’s hull is made of a light fiberglass for weight reduction, resulting into the hull weight of just 1 ton. The boat is powered by two Yamaha engines producing 240 hp in total. Each engine drive a set of three-bladed waterjet which, when combined with the boat’s light weight, resulting into an absurd top speed of 90 knots (170 km/h).

There are several variants of the Ashura II-class, ranging from transport to firefighting boat, though the most common ones that were in service with Iran (more specifically the IRGC-N) is the Kuch-type.

Top view of the Kuch-type. Note a storage box just behind the bridge.

The Kuch-type is armed with one 12.7 mm DShK machine gun and one 11-barreled 107 mm Fajr 1 rocket launchers (a copy of the Chinese Type 63 MLRS). The usual crew count for each boat is typically 4, though as much as 6 and as low as 2. The rocket launcher is seems to be in a fixed mount, thus it could only be elevated up or down to adjust the angle of fire.

As of current, the exact number of the Kuch-type in service is unknown, though over hundreds, if not thousand of the Ashura II of all variants were in service with various branch of the Iranian Navy and IRGC-N.



Armament: 1 x 1 12.7 mm DShK machine gun, 1 x 11 107 mm Fajr 1 rocket launchers

Displacement: 1 ton full

Length: 9 m

Beam: 3 m

Draft: 0.4 m

Propulsion: 2 x Yamaha diesel-powered outboard engines, 240 hp. Driving two waterjets.

Speed: 90 knots (170 km/h)

Range: Unknown

Crew: At least 4



Saunders, Stephen; Philpott, Tom, eds. (2015), “Iran”, IHS Jane’s Fighting Ships 2015–2016 , Jane’s Fighting Ships (116th Revised ed.), Coulsdon: IHS Jane’s, p. 391, ISBN 9780710631435, OCLC 919022075
Haghshenass, Fariborz (September 2008), Iran’s Asymmetric Naval Warfare (PDF) (Policy Focus), Washington Institute for Near East Policy, p. 12, archived from the original (PDF) on 2019-04-17, retrieved 2020-08-07
Saunders, Stephen; Philpott, Tom, eds. (2015), “Sudan”, IHS Jane’s Fighting Ships 2015–2016 , Jane’s Fighting Ships (116th Revised ed.), Coulsdon: IHS Jane’s, p. 792, ISBN 9780710631435, OCLC 919022075

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+1, but where would this even go?

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Russia or china i guess

Great, another 80’s vehicle on 2.0