The Sun: A hi-tech British designed "super boat" may have fallen into the hands of the Iranian Army.
By STAFF REPORTER
A HI-TECH British designed "super boat" may have fallen into the hands of the Iranian Army.
Experts fear the James Bond style high-performance craft may now be being modified with Russian torpedoes into a "fast attack craft" by the Middle Eastern country's Revolutionary Guards.
The boat – the Bradstone Challenger – was being advertised through a broker as "the ultimate toy for someone looking for something a little bit special."
It has an average speed of 61mph and was used by Brit adventurer Neil McGrigor used to set the current world record for circumnavigating the UK in 2005.
In 2006 Iran was blocked from purchasing the Bladerunner 51 model craft by the UK Department of trade and Industry.
But Iran did not give up and US officials were forced to step in to prevent the boat being loaded onto a Gulf-bound container in South Africa in January 2009.
The US commerce department's Bureau of Industry and Security asked South African authorities to block the transfer saying Iran's Revolutionary Guards intended to use the boat as a "fast attack craft".
They said that other similar craft had been fitted with "torpedoes, rocket launchers and anti-ship missiles" with the aim of "exploiting enemy vulnerabilities through the use of 'swarming' tactics by small boats".
Reports say the sale was allowed to go ahead because NO ONE saw the US notice sent by fax over a weekend.
US special forces were reportedly standing by ready to intercept the Iranian merchant vessel but the operation was called off at the last minute.
Experts' fears grew that the purchase of the record-breaking speedboat coincided with Iran developing Russian-designed Shkval (Squall) torpedoes, known to be the fastest in the world.
In April 2006, General Ali Fadavi, deputy head of the Revolutionary Guards, announced the test of a revolutionary torpedo capable of speeds of up to 360kph that "no warship can escape from".
Craig Hooper, a San Francisco-based naval strategist says Iran is scouring the world for speedboats with potential military use.
It is thought Iran wants to copy the boats revolutionary hull design built by Britain's ICE Marine.
Jeremy Watts, the ICE Marine director says only two have been built and that Iran used "cloak and dagger operations" to try to get one.
He said: "The boat is the newest, best thing around. I was quite fond of it."
In December last year the Revolutionary Guard navy seized five British sailors when their 60ft yacht accidentally drifted into Iranian waters.
The crew were released unharmed after questioning.
In March 2007 fifteen British navy personnel were captured at gunpoint by Iranian forces and held captive for two weeks before they were released.
In 2004, Iran detained eight British servicemen for three days after they allegedly strayed over the maritime border.
The UK claimed the men were "forcibly escorted" into Iranian territorial waters.