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IS Sahand F 74

The Iranian frigate IS Sabalan F 73, was a British-made Vosper Mark V class frigate (also known as Alvand class frigate or the Saam class frigate). Sabalan was commissioned June 1972 as part of a four-ship order. Originally called Rostam, named after a legendary hero in the Shahnameh, after the Islamic Revolution it was renamed Sabalan, after the Sabalan mountain.

During the Iran-Iraq War, the Sabalan became infamous for attacks against the crews of unarmed and often neutral tankers and other merchant ships. Her captain had repeatedly attacked shipping, strafing crew quarters of the mammoth oil tankers before radioing "Have a nice day" to the stricken vessels.

Operation Praying Mantis

Green Lizard A-6E loaded with a AGM-84 Harpoon & 500lb Laser Guided Bomb
Green Lizard A-6E loaded with a AGM-84 Harpoon & 500lb Laser Guided Bomb

On the morning of April 18, 1988, after taking out the oil platforms. The U.S. forces turned its attention for other Islamic Republic of Iran targets. Sabalan's sister frigate the Sahand F 74 was identified by A-6E aircraft from the USS Enterprise and drawn into a fatal engagement where the Sahand was sunk. Another group of A-6 Intruders was sent to the reported location of the Sabalan in the strait, where, the frigate fired three missiles at a passing A-6E aircraft. Avoiding the missiles, one of the American planes turned and dropped a single 500-pound laser-guided bomb down the Sabalan's stack, ripping apart the engineering spaces which left the Sabalan paralyzed and on fire. At The Pentagon, Defense Secretary Frank Carlucci, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Adm. William J. Crowe Jr., and U.S. Central Command head Gen. George B. Crist monitored the situation. Crowe turned to Secretary of Defense Frank Carlucci and said, "We've shed enough blood today," and called off any further action sparing the Sabalan, perhaps to prevent further escalation.

Iranian forces towed the damaged ship to the port of Bandar-Abbas, and it was eventually repaired and returned to service

Hey Iran, sorry we didn't get to sinking her in 1988, but I'm sure when we start shooting at you guys in the near future, that todays Navy will get to finish the job... Have a nice day...

Operation Praying Mantis is one of five American naval engagements cited by United States Naval Academy Prof. Craig L. Symonds in his book Decision at Sea (2005) as being decisive in establishing U.S. naval superiority. The others were the Battle of Lake Erie (1813), the Battle of Hampton Roads (1862), the Battle of Manila Bay (1898), and the Battle of Midway (1942).

Ships in The Class

Pennant Number
Alvand - ex-Saam 71 (ex- DE 12) Vosper Thornycroft 1968 In Service
Alborz - ex-Zaal 72 (ex DE 14) Vickers 1969 In Service
Sabalan- ex-Rostam 73 (ex DE 16) Vickers 1969 In Service
Sahand - ex-Faramarz 74 (ex DE 18) Vosper Thornycroft 1969 sunk on April 18, 1988

Islamic Republic of Iran frigate IS Sabalan F 73
Islamic Republic of Iran frigate IS Sabalan F 73

General Characteristics
Displacement: 1,100 tons (1,540 tons full load)
Length: 94.5 m (310 ft)
Beam: 11.07 m (36 ft)
Draft: 3.25 m (10.5 ft)
Propulsion and power: 2 Paxman Ventura cruising diesels 3,800 bhp, and 2 Rolls Royce Olympus TM-3A boost gas turbines 46,000 shp on 2 shafts
Speed: 17 knots (31 km/h) on diesels39 knots (72 km/h) on gas turbines
Range: 5,000 nmi (9,000 km) at 15 knots (28 km/h)
Complement: 125-146
Armament: 4 x C-802 anti-ship missiles 1 × 4.5 inch (114 mm) Mark 8 gun 1 x twin 20 mm AAA, 2 x single 20 mm AAA 2 × 81 mm mortars 2 × 0.50cal machine guns 1 x Limbo ASW mortar 2 x triple 12.75 in torpedo tubes


Inside The Danger Zone; by Harold Lee Wise; ISBN 978-59114-970-5