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Iran claims to have boat faster than fastest in US.

The Islamic Republic says it has successfully tested a boat that can hit 203 kilometers per hour, or 2-1/2 times the speed of the fastest US warship, making it much easier for Iranian gunboats to overtake American vessels.

Iran makes claims of dramatic military advances almost every month and most are considered highly exaggerated. There was no way to check last week's claim.

Admiral Ali Fadavi, the commander of the Pasdar maritime force, said the 203 kph speed was achieved by a test boat. He said, however, that the Pasdaran would start the mass production of another speedboat by the end of this Persian year that can reach 148 kph or 75 percent faster than the fastest US warship.

The fastest US warship is the new Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), which was designed with the Persian Gulf in mind. It has been clocked at 84 kph.

Five years ago, Iran claimed it was starting mass production of two new classes of combat speedboats able to chase down most American warships. But they haven't been seen operating at sea.

An official 2010 commentary suggested the Pasdar believe great speed will give Iran an edge over the US Navy in the Persian Gulf.

Fadavi was quoted then as saying, "Topping a speed of 65 kilometers per hour is still a dream for the navies of other countries. The maximum speed of American warships is 57 kph," an erroneous figure given that the LCS had already hit 84 kph the previous year.

Fadavi said, "The general speed of the boats manufactured by the Defense Minisliy for us is double that of enemy warships."

The two new classes of speedboat unveiled in 2010 were the Seraj (Lamp) and the Zolfaqar (the name of the sword wielded by Imam Ali, the first of Shiism's 12 Imams).

They are thought to be Iranian copies or derivatives of the Bladerunner, a British racing boat. In 2008, Iran quietly bought one of the only two vessels ever made.

Iran acknowledged having bought the vessel and said it had converted the Bladerunner into a combat vessel and would begin to mass-produce it.

The 51-foot Bladerunner has a top speed of 132 kph and averaged 99 kph in a 2005 circumnavigation of the British Isles that took 27 hours. Fadavi's description of the Zolfaqar appeared to reference the Bladerunner, but he never said outright that the Zolfaqar was the Bladerunner.

The state news agency said the Zolfaqar could reach 132 kph, which tied the Zolfaqar to the Bladerunner, for which 132 kph is the published top speed.

To reach the 203 kph speed Iran claimed last week, it would need an engine that could best the Bladerunner by 54 percent, an astounding jump in capability. The Bladerunner uses two USmade 1,000 horsepower Caterpillar engines.

The fastest speed ever achieved by a pure racing boat was 511 kph in 1978 with a rocket engine. No one has been able to beat that record since. Boats traveling over the water at such high speeds often break up, making speedboat racing one of the world's most dangerous sports.

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Publication:Iran Times International (Washington, DC)
Geographic Code:7IRAN
Date:Jun 5, 2015
Words:517
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