Iran's Boat-Plane-Thing Would Strike Fear Into Other Flying Military Boats if Any Existed

Iran's Bavar 2

Iran's Sacred Week of Defense (celebrating its eight-year resistance to the Iraqi invation of the 1980s) is never without a healthy dose of pomp and ceremony, but this week Iran's defense ministry took the usual military parade to the waterfront. Yesterday Iran unveiled three squadrons of machine-gun-wielding flying boats. Yeah, you read that correctly.

The Bavar 2 is an ocean-going craft meant to pack surveillance cameras, an automatic weapon, and perhaps even missiles. Though it's unclear exactly what it's supposed to defend against. And it's also supposed to be "stealth," presumably because if flies so low – just above the water, as far as we can tell – that it rolls under the radar.

It's fast, however, and it could be employed in the Iranian Navy's favorite game: harassing everyone else with a vessel afloat in the Persian Gulf. For that it might be ideal, darting quickly and menacingly around other larger naval vessels it has no intention of or capability for attacking.

So why spend the money? To quote Iranian Defense Minister Brig. Gen. Ahmad Vahidi's statement to the press: "Islamic Republic of Iran is one of the few countries which managed to design, build and use flying boats in a short time." Which is true. Sorry DARPA, but you've been bested. Time to wind down your flying boat program.