Portsmouth: The Iranian Navy is reported to have got hold of the design of a superfast speedboat which the West fears could be used for attacking warships.
The Bradstone Challenger, a record-breaking speedboat, is capable of an incredible 72 knots. A smaller version of this boat was driven by David Beckham during the opening of the 2012 London Olympic Games. But now this boat is in the hands of the Iranian Navy as claimed by the people who built it. They say the Iranians bought the boat after numerous Western attempts to block the sale. They finally got the boat in 2009 from a South African arms dealer.
The Iranians also successfully copied the speedboat's prototype and called it Seraj 1, part of a fleet of superfast gunships, bristling with rockets and weapons. Seraj 1 is a part of Iran's asymmetric tactics - using small boats to attack large warships. Western concerns about Iran's fleet of speedboats increased after war-games in 2002, when a US Navy team suffered heavy losses in a simulated attack. Some of their fleet sunk by a swarm-attack of small boats in the Gulf.
The Bradstone Challenger was designed by Lorne Campbell. The British Military Intelligence had contacted him to know about the boat.
Iran's Navy Commander Admiral Ali Fadavi has boasted that the US. tried and failed to stop delivery of the Bradstone Challenger in 2009, during a high seas stand-off that lasted 18 hours. Now, that Iran has the design and its own fleet of copies, the fear is, it's just waiting for the pretext to deploy them in anger.