Iran Ajr

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Iran Ajr with mines visible on deck and a U.S. Navy landing craft alongside, 22 September 1987
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[1]
Christened: Arya Rakhsh[1]
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.
General characteristics [2]
Type: Landing ship/Minelayer
  • 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)
Draught: 3 m (9 ft 10 in)
Propulsion: 2 × diesel engines, 2 screws
Speed: 11 knots (20 km/h; 13 mph)
Complement: 30
  • 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.[3] 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.

Iran–Iraq War[edit]

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 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 Iran Ajr were laying mines, the U.S. commander in the Persian Gulf ordered the 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 frigate USS Samuel B. Roberts struck a mine the following April, navy explosive ordnance specialists matched the serial numbers of nearby unexploded mines to the ones aboard Iran Ajr. This evidence of Iranian involvement in the mining of Samuel B. Roberts led to the biggest surface-warfare naval battle since World War II, the retribution campaign of 18 April 1988 called Operation Praying Mantis.[3]

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

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "7807196 Iran Ajr". Maritime Connector. Retrieved 29 June 2015. 
  2. ^ "Iran Ajr/Hejaz Class". 2012. Retrieved 29 August 2012. 
  3. ^ a b Peniston, Bradley (2006). "Capturing the Iran Ajr". No Higher Honor. Retrieved 29 June 2015. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]