TEHRAN, Iran (Army Times) — Iran’s Revolutionary Guard launched large scale naval and air defense drills near a strategic Gulf waterway on Wednesday where dozens of speedboats swarmed a replica of a U.S. aircraft carrier.
The drill, which was named Great Prophet 9, was reportedly held near the Strait of Hormuz, where one fifth of the world’s oil passes.
State TV showed footage of missiles fired from the coast and the fast boats striking the mock U.S. aircraft carrier. The drills, which also included shooting down a drone and planting undersea mines, were the first to involve a replica of a U.S. carrier.
The Guard’s chief commander, Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari, said the drills send a “message of (Iran’s) might” to “extraterritorial powers,” a reference to the United States.
“American aircraft carriers are very big ammunition depots housing a lot of missiles, rockets, torpedoes and everything else,” the Guard’s navy chief, Adm. Ali Fadavi, said on state TV, adding that a direct hit by a missile could set off a large secondary explosion. Last month Fadavi said his force is capable of sinking American aircraft carriers in the event of war.
Cmdr. Kevin Stephens, the spokesman for the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet in Bahrain, said the Iranian naval exercises began a few days ago and have had no effect on maritime traffic.
Stephens said the Americans were monitoring the drills, but downplayed the simulated attack on the carrier, saying the U.S. military was “not concerned about this exercise.”
“We’re quite confident of our naval forces’ ability to defend themselves,” he said. “It seems they’ve attempted to destroy the equivalent of a Hollywood movie set.”
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