Venezuelan navy bolsters arsenal with Iranian-made anti-ship missiles

Venezuelan navy bolsters arsenal with Iranian-made anti-ship missiles
Venezuelan Defence Minister Padrino Lopez confirmed the acquisition of Iranian-made CM-90 anti-ship missiles during a visit to Agustin Armario naval base, highlighting deepening military cooperation between Venezuela and Iran.
By bne bureau South America April 22, 2024

The Venezuelan Navy has recently augmented its military capabilities with the addition of new CM-90 anti-ship missiles (ASM) manufactured in Iran, according to the country's Ministry of Defence. 

This development was confirmed during a visit to the Agustin Armario naval base in Puerto Cabello by Defence Minister Padrino Lopez, the ministry's site said on April 16 in a direct message to the US and Western countries the a day after Iran attacked Israel with 350 rockets.

"We have a uniformed people loaded with mystique, commitment and will, we have a FANB (National Bolivarian Armed Forces) equipped, strengthened and capable of defending our territory," López said at the unveiling of the missiles. 

The delivery of missiles highlights the deepening military collaboration between Venezuela and Iran, with the Agustin Armario base now equipped with facilities dedicated to the maintenance and support of combat systems procured from Tehran.

The CM-90 missiles are believed to be integrated into the armament of the Peikaap class missile boats, showcased during a naval parade in July 2023.

These vessels, known for their agility and speed, are designed for coastal defence and are armed with potent weaponry, including anti-ship missile launchers and torpedo tubes. Moreover, recent iterations of these boats have been outfitted with remotely controlled combat modules.

Iran's CM-90 missile, initially unveiled at the DIMDEX exhibition in 2022, boasts dimensions of 4.16 metres in length, 280 mm in diameter, and weighs approximately 350 kg. Equipped with an active radar guidance system, it is powered by a turbojet engine, granting it a flight range of around 90 km, as noted by Navy Recognition.

The long-standing military cooperation between Iran and Venezuela has significantly deepened in recent years, aimed at fostering mutual support against external pressures, particularly from the United States.

The odd-couple alliance traces back to the presidencies of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Iran, during which bilateral agreements, including those concerning military cooperation, were established. These pacts encompassed plans for constructing military infrastructure in Venezuela and forming joint ventures, such as an ammunition production facility.

Under Presidents Nicolas Maduro and Ebrahim Raisi's leadership, Venezuela's relationship with Iran has evolved into a comprehensive strategic partnership encompassign security and trade.

In 2022, during Maduro's visit to Tehran, the two countries signed a 20-year cooperation roadmap. Additionally, Iran has transferred various technologies to Venezuela, including know-how in military drone production.