Source: Gladius Defense & Security
On July 18th 2019 Iran’s Revolutionary Gaurd Corps Navy seized control of a British owned oil tanker Stena Impero. During the incident, no shots were fired and no injuries were sustained by the IRGC or tanker crew. The incident saw Iran’s Revolutionary Gaurd Corp Navy utilize a combination of light surface vessels and a Mi-17 Helicopter. Once sized the tanker was towed to Bandar Abbas.
Based on videos obtained from news sources the ship was first surrounded by Bodghammer speed boats armed with 12.7 mm DShk machine guns and crewed by IRGC-Navy infantry armed with small arms. Based on the video’s, the small arms carried appeared to be AKMs. Once the boat was surrounded a Mi-17 operated by the IRGC-Navy inserted a team of IRGC-Navy Special Forces via fast rope onto the tanker. The IRGC-Navy Special Forces appeared to be armed with AK-103s and AKMs. They wore khaki uniforms with tactical vests and ski masks.
The small craft used designated by Gladius are Bodghammers. These are recreational speed boats modified to function as fast attack craft. They can be armed with 12.7 mm DShk machine guns, 107 mm rockets or crew operated small arms and rockets. The boats are designed to overwhelm larger vessels at close range and in large numbers. The helicopter used was an IRGC-Navy Mi-17 Hip delivered sometime between 2005 and 2007 as a rescue helicopter. The Mi-17 is used for insertion and extraction of IRGC Navy Special Forces and has an offensive anti-surface capability being able to be equipped with a C-802 anti-ship missile. In this case, the helicopter was unarmed.
The following event only involved the Islamic Revolutionary Garud Corp Navy, no Regular Iranian Navy units appeared to be involved in this particular event despite operating in the same area of operation. The Islamic Revolutionary Gaurd Corp is a completely separate military force than the Regular Army. The oil tanker take over was once of many events that have taken place in the Persian Gulf over the last two months. Major events that took place prior include the downing of an RQ-4 Globalhawk by an IRGC Aerospace Force Raad and the downing of an unidentified UAV of Iranian origin by the USS Boxer. All of the following incidents took place in international waters.
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