It appears the Iranian military might stage another mock attack on its huge model of a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier.
If so, the mock attack essentially would repeat a similar event from 2015 and could function as a show of force in the aftermath of the United States’ Jan. 2, 2020 assassination of Qasem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps.
Iran built the carrier mock-up on a barge. The fake flattop, which at roughly 1,000 feet is around the same length as an actual aircraft carrier, first appeared in photos in 2013.
Iranian forces assaulted the “aircraft carrier” during a naval war game in February 2015. “During the Great Prophet 9 exercises Iran targeted the vessel with a range of offensive equipment including swarms of fast attack craft, anti-ship missiles and ballistic missiles,” Offiziere reported.
Strikes were reportedly launched from both Bandar Abbas and Jask. Phase two of the exercise saw Iranian special forces fast-rope from helicopters onto the barge surface and attack the mock-up’s superstructure. A final wave included targeting by a suicide vessel and a coastal cruise missile.
“The whole show was an important propaganda piece demonstrating Iran’s anti-access/area denial strategy fitted to Iran’s unique operating space. “We are sending all the Persian Gulf countries a message of the might of the Islamic Republic of Iran — a message of security and peace in the Persian Gulf region and the Strait of Hormuz,” commented Mohammad Ali Jafari, commander of the Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, the force responsible for security of the Strait.
In the event of war with the United States, Iran probably could block the narrow Strait of Hormuz that connects the Persian Gulf to the Indian Ocean. But it’s less clear that Tehran would want to close down the strait.