Arctic Sea: hiding the S300 Missiles Aboard

Naval S300
A reporter has visited a ship similar to the Finnish-built Arctic Sea, to decide if it could have carried Russian S300 missiles destined for Iran: "The only feasible place is the ballast tanks, so I squeezed through a manhole and climbed into one of them to take a look.

Access to all these dark, damp areas is through an oval hole about 80cm (31 inches) at its widest.

The space beneath is fairly generous but manoeuvring a long, thick missile in there would be impossible."

Actually, the S300 missile is 7 meters long in its fiberglass launcher/container (22.90 ft), and .76 m (2.49 ft) span. The Arctic Sea is 105.1 meters in length. How the ballast tanks are now configured in the phantom ship is unknown. Further, the fiberglass container is not difficult to duplicate and the missile is comprised of smaller components.

"Military experts do not rule out the possibility of on-site S-300 assembly from components allegedly supplied to Iran. "

In January 2008, "Esmaeil Kosari, deputy chairman of the parliamentary commission on national security and foreign policy, told Iran's official Islamic Republic News Agency Sunday that Russia was already sending components for its formidable S-300PMU-1 system -- NATO designation SA-20 Gargoyle -- to the Islamic republic."

In May, 2009, "Russia's customs service said Thursday it uncovered a ring of active and retired military officers suspected of involvement in stealing millions of dollars worth of missile components and smuggling them out of Russia.

The Federal Customs Service said it has detained a dozen suspects and confiscated about 22 tons of missile components intended for smuggling.

It said that the criminal ring had smuggled parts of S-75, S-125, S-200 and S-300 air defense missile systems.

The customs agency said that the ring included Russian military officers on active duty along with some retirees and citizens of Belarus and Ukraine. It said the suspects were believed to work with senior officers of the military's air defense forces stationed in Russia's northwest, but would not give any names.
The latest capture of illegal weapons smuggling was reportedly only a part of a larger operation which has been going on for some time. Previously, Russian and other European customs had thwarted attempts to smuggle missile components for Latvia and "an unspecified Asian country", the Russian customs said."

The various methods the Russians are suspected of using to remove the missiles from the Arctic Sea in the Canaries would be applicable to oncarriage to Iran. Perhaps the missiles were transshipped by air in their containers or component parts as from Gran Canaria. Perhaps they were transshipped at sea as the 'evidence' was to a tanker (not a cargo vessel), the Iman. Tankers are the stuff of Iran's seaborne commerce.


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