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Iran Ajr

Arya Rakhsh

ایران اجر ، آریا رخش


Persian_Gulf_Iran_Ajr_1987.jpg
(Wikipedia) - Iran Ajr
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Career (Iran) General characteristics
Iran Ajr with mines visible on deck and a U.S. Navy landing craft alongside, 22 September 1987
Name: Iran Ajr
Builder: Teraoka Shipyard - Minamiawaji, Japan
Christened: Arya Rakhsh
Acquired: by purchase, 1978
Renamed: Iran Ajr (1980)
Fate: Seized and scuttled by U.S. Navy, 26 September 1987
Notes: Originally acquired by Imperial Iranian Navy as part of pre-1979 Revolution defense build-up. Was intended to be the first of a class of four.
Type: Landing ship/Minelayer
Displacement: 614 t (604 long tons) empty 2,274 t (2,238 long tons) full load
Length: 53.85 m (176 ft 8 in)
Beam: 10.81 m (35 ft 6 in)
Draft: 3 m (9 ft 10 in)
Propulsion: 2 × diesel engines, 2 screws
Speed: 11 knots (20 km/h; 13 mph)
Complement: 30
Armament:
  • 2 × 12.7 mm (0.50 in) machine guns
  • Variable number of mines of various types

Iran Ajr, formerly known as the Arya Rakhsh, was a Japanese-built landing craft used by Iran to lay naval mines during the Iran–Iraq War. Built in 1978, the 614-ton, 54-meter ship was powered by two diesel engines and featured a bow ramp for unloading cargo. She was scuttled in 1987.

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Iran–Iraq War

On 21 September 1987, U.S. forces involved in Operation Prime Chance tracked Iran Ajr and dispatched army helicopters from the Navy guided missile frigate USS Jarrett (FFG-33) to shadow it. Prime Chance was the covert part of Operation Earnest Will, the mission to protect U.S.-flagged petroleum-carrying ships in the Persian Gulf. When the aviators reported that people aboard the Iran Ajr were laying mines, the U.S. commander in the Persian Gulf ordered the army pilots to "stop the mining." The helicopters fired on the ship, killing some of the mariners and chasing others into the water. A team of Navy SEAL commandos later boarded the ship, confirmed the presence of mines, and detained the surviving Iranians. On 26 September, EOD MU5 Detachment 5 scuttled the ship in international waters.

When the USS Samuel B. Roberts (FFG-58) struck a mine the following April, navy explosive ordnance specialists matched the serial numbers of nearby unexploded mines to the ones aboard the Iran Ajr. This evidence of Iranian involvement in the Roberts mining led to the biggest surface-warfare naval battle since World War II, the retribution campaign of 18 April 1988 called Operation Praying Mantis.

The captured colors of the Iran Ajr are in the U.S. Navy Museum.

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