Iranian military exercises in the Persian Gulf in late July featured a mockup aircraft carrier, which appeared to be a replica of a US Navy Nimitz-class aircraft carrier.
The exercise, and its apparent reference to the US Navy, comes amid heightened tensions between the two countries, and the maneuvers on display reflected how Iran would take on the US in a real war.
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Last Monday marked the start of “Great Prophet 14,” the latest military exercise by Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in the Strait of Hormuz and the Persian Gulf.
It included rocket and missile launches, anti-aircraft fire, drone attacks, and ship maneuvers, culminating in an attack a barge designed to look like a US Nimitz-class carrier.
Footage showed the mock carrier carrying fake aircraft and being hit by a missile fired from an underground launcher. Divers attached limpet mines to its hull, armed speedboats circled it, and commandos fast-roped onto its deck from a helicopter.
The drills come amid heightened tensions between Iran and the US.
In the years since President Donald Trump withdrew from the nuclear deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action in 2018 and tightened sanctions, Iran has attacked and threatened targets across the region.
Tensions peaked in January, when the US killed the head of the IRGC’s Quds Force in a drone strike. In response, Iran fired cruise missiles at Iraqi military bases, injuring 110 US troops.
While no direct action has occurred since then, this week’s drill shows Iran is still preparing for a larger conflict and that its surrounding waters will be the main venue for it.
A tale of 2 navies
Iran’s waters are divided between the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. They are connected by the Strait of Hormuz, which is only 21 miles wide at its narrowest point and is the busiest shipping lane for petroleum in the world. The region as a whole has over half of the world’s proven crude oil reserves.
Defense of Iran’s waters is divided between the Islamic Republic of Iran Navy (IRIN) and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ naval component, the IRGCN. The IRIN is part of Iran’s regular military while the IRGCN answers to the IRGC, an independent military force responsible for guarding Iran’s political system and furthering the ideals of the Islamic revolution.
Despite being Iran’s official navy, the IRIN’s exclusive areas of operations are limited to the Gulf of Oman and Caspian Sea. The IRGC, on the other hand, is solely responsible for defending the Persian Gulf, although both forces share responsibility for the Strait of Hormuz.
The US estimates the IRGCN’s size at 20,000 members, while the IRIN numbers 18,000, totaling about 6% of Iran’s estimated 610,000-strong active military force.
Conventional and asymmetrical warfare
The IRIN operates about 112 vessels, mostly small coastal patrol and support ships, armed with impressive anti-ship missiles.
Additionally, the IRIN …read more
Source:: Business Insider