Iran has bombarded a replica US aircraft carrier in the Strait of Hormuz with missiles that caused so much commotion that the US military put two of its regional bases on alert.
Shortly after the mock carrier was blasted with missiles by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, the US Navy condemned the drill as “irresponsible and reckless behaviour by Iran” that was intended to “intimidate and coerce".
During the same drill, Iranian soldiers abseiled from a helicopter onto the replica ship, while anti-aircraft guns opened fire on a target drone.
The dramatic images were broadcast by Iranian state media, and also showed missiles being fired from boats, trucks and a helicopter.
An Iranian commander said in the broadcast that the provocative drill would continue on Wednesday, with plans to shoot “long-range ballistic missiles” at mock targets.
“Our policies to protect the vital interests of the dear nation of Iran are defensive, in the sense that we will not invade any country from the beginning, but we are completely aggressive in tactics and operations," said Gen Hossein Salami, the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.
"What was shown today at this exercise at the level of aerospace and naval forces was all offensive."
The exercise prompted the US military to put its troops on alert at the Al-Dhafra air base in the United Arab Emirates and the Al-Udeid air base in Qatar, according to US officials.
American soldiers took cover for twenty minutes and then realised the missiles were not directed at their bases. Both bases are roughly a hundred miles away from the site of the replica aircraft carrier.
A US Navy spokesperson said: "While we are always watchful of this type of irresponsible and reckless behavior by Iran in the vicinity of busy international waterways, this exercise has not disrupted coalition operations in the area nor had any impacts to the free flow of commerce in the Strait of Hormuz and surrounding waters.”