Work is progressing on the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ first aircraft carrier (We should ignore the infamous fake aircraft carrier target barge). The 240 meter long drone carrier is based on a large merchant ship hull. Two of the vessels are expected to be built, the Shahid Mahdavi and Shahid Bagheri.
Based on analysis of open sources I believe the first one to be the Shahid-Mahdav (110-3) although it is also being reported in Iranian social media sources as Shahid Bagheri. The two ships are likely similar or identical so this detail may be less important at this point.
Like the Iranian Navy’s forward base ship Makran, which is currently transiting across the Pacific, the conversion is being done at the ISOICO shipyard west of Bandar Abbas.
The conversion adds a large cantilever flight deck on the port (left) side. It is currently unclear whether an overhang will be added to the starboard (right) side also. The fact that the superstructure spans the original deck means that a traditional aircraft carrier layout is not possible. The angles on the added light deck are also not traditional. Possibly this hints at a flight deck running across from port to starboard ahead of the superstructure.
As a drone carrier the ship is expected to carry both helicopters and runway-launched drones.
Information suggests that the ship was originally Perarin (IMO: 9209350), a large container ship. Perarin was built in 2000 and operated under an Iranian flag. Specifications for Perarin are a carrying capacity of 3,280 TEU, length overall (LOA) of 240.2 meters and beam of 32.2 meters. Her reported draught was 7.8 meters.
Low-resolution open source satellite imagery suggests that the ship was moved into the dry dock at the end of May 2022. The deck was stripped and the ship painted grey. Work on the overhanging flight deck became apparent in satellite imagery around November 19 2022.