Iran’s armed forces launched a speedboat attack on a giant model of a US aircraft carrier on Wednesday as the Revolutionary Guard staged military exercises in the Gulf.
The aim of the drill was to practise how to sink an American carrier, at least two of which patrol the Gulf at any given time.
Exercise “Great Prophet Nine” showed how the naval wing of the Revolutionary Guard would launch a “swarm” attack, seeking to overwhelm the carrier’s defences by dispatching numerous speedboats to converge on the vessel from all directions.
“American aircraft carriers are very big ammunition depots housing a lot of missiles, rockets, torpedoes and everything else,” said Admiral Ali Fadavi, the naval commander of the Revolutionary Guard. He told state television that hitting a carrier with just one missile could trigger a “large secondary explosion”.
The exercise was carried out near the Strait of Hormuz, a vital waterway at the entrance to the Gulf. The US Navy’s Fifth Fleet is based in the nearby kingdom of Bahrain.
However, American forces believe they have little to fear from the Revolutionary Guard. The US deploys 10 nuclear-powered carriers, each one of which can embark about 80 aircraft with more striking power than the entire Iranian air force.
Commander Kevin Stephens, the spokesman for the Fifth Fleet, said the exercise had not disrupted maritime traffic. “We’re quite confident of our naval forces’ ability to defend themselves,” he told Associated Press news agency. “It seems they’ve attempted to destroy the equivalent of a Hollywood movie set.”