Updated: Jun 8, 2020
Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) and public reporting has revealed that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), a branch of the Iranian military, has deployed anti-ship batteries and rockets to the Strait of Hormuz. Video footage and photos of the weapon platforms began emerging on social media on April 4, 2020. The video below is believed be near the port city of Bandar Abbas, in the Hormozgan Province of Iran.
According to an analysis conducted by the Intelligence Ledger, the weapon platforms lined up on the sand berm appear to be Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS) of both North Korean and Iranian design, with some being able to reach out and strike up to 45 miles away.
More worrying for opponents of Iran in the Strait are the anti-ship batteries. At least one Khatam-5 launcher appears in the footage on the far left. The Khatam-5 carries Noor sea-skimming missiles that are capable of hitting targets up to 120 miles away.
The Strait of Hormuz is perhaps one of the world's single most important oil passageways, and has proven repeatedly to be a major hotspot. Lying between Oman and Iran, the Strait connect Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the UAE, and Saudi Arabia with the Arabian Sea, and thus global trade. According to the US Energy Information Agency, nearly 21 million barrels per day flow through the Strait, or the equivalent of about 21% of global petroleum liquids consumption. If Iran were to close the Strait by force, it would significantly drive the price of oil up and drastically lower global supply levels.
The views expressed are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the United States Army, Department of Defense, or the United States Government.