Iran has been engaged in a weeklong series of war games - codenamed "The Great Prophet" - in the Persian Gulf, where they have announced testing of highly advanced torpedoes and missiles. Iran rarely gives enough details of military hardware for analysts to determine whether Tehran is making a genuine advance, or simply producing defiant propaganda.
As a result, defense analysts are skeptical of Iranian claims to have developed new high-tech weapons equal to or even surpassing in capability those available to world military powers. They claim they have tested an underwater sonar-evading missile that travels three or four times faster than conventional torpedoes. They also claim to have test-fired a multiple-warhead missile that can almost entirely evade radar.
Military consultant Alexandra Ashbourne - a former senior defense analyst at the Centre for European Reform - says she would be "really surprised" if the Iranian claims are true. She singles out the rocket with alleged radar-avoiding qualities, called the Fajr-3.
"That's the kind of thing we are having trouble with, and whether they have this incredible.... I mean we know they have some capabilities, but whether their capabilities are really as advanced as they would like us to believe is another matter," she says.
Turning to the underwater missile, called Hoot, naval security analyst Jason Alderwick of the International Institute for Strategic Studies has studied video of the underwater missile released by the Iranian government, and is skeptical. He points out that the best conventional torpedoes have a speed of about 110 kilometers per hour, and that to get them to run at three or four times that speed through rocket power is no easy matter.
"Certainly they seem to have undertaken some form of test, of some 'missilized' underwater projectile, but to go so far as to claim it is a credible, fully operational underwater missile I think is overstating [the matter] considerably," he says.
On Wednesday, Tehran announced it had successfully test-fired a "top secret" missile which it called an "ultra-horizon" weapon that could be fired from all military helicopters and jet fighters. We imagine that announcement is also nothing more than propaganda.