The Navy of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) or Revolutionary Guards' Navy (Persian: نیروی دریایی سپاه پاسداران انقلاب اسلامی), acronym NEDSA (Persian: ندسا), consists of 20,000 men and 1,500 boats and fast attack boats separate from the regular Navy of Artesh assuming control over Iranian maritime operations in the Persian Gulf. IRGC’s Navy has steadily improved its capabilities to support unconventional warfare and defend Iran’s offshore facilities, coastlines, and islands in the Persian Gulf.
IRGC Navy and Artesh Navy overlap functions and areas of responsibility, but they are distinct in terms of how they are trained and equipped— and more importantly also in how they fight. The Revolutionary Guards Navy has a large inventory of small fast attack craft, and specializes in asymmetric hit-and-run tactics. It is more akin to a guerrilla force at sea, and maintains large arsenals of coastal defense and anti-ship cruise missiles and mines.