Iran Tries To Intimidate US with War Exercise, Utterly Humiliates Itself Instead
By C. Douglas Golden
Published August 9, 2020 at 10:15am
Iran sank a U.S. aircraft carrier. Big news, right? Well, yes but not for the reasons you may be thinking.
First, it wasnt really an American aircraft carrier. It wasnt an aircraft carrier at all, actually. And while Iran meant to sink it, it didnt mean to sink it. And certainly not in the way it ended up getting sunk.
Im sure youre confused, so let me explain. On July 28, according to The Aviationist, a news site that covers military and civilian aircraft, Iran launched its Great Prophet 14 military exercises. I didnt pay much attention because I also hadnt paid attention to the first 13, so I was afraid I wouldnt be able to follow the plot.
The news that Tehran wanted everyone wanted to pay attention to was the use of the stealthy Shahed 181 and Shahed 191 drones, which The Aviationist notes were reverse-engineered from captured U.S. drones.
If youre the kind of person who thinks Aviation Week is more engrossing than Tiger King, I suppose this is what why you were interested in Great Prophet 14. As for me, I was a bit more entertained by the fact that a fake, scaled-down version of a Nimitz- class aircraft carrier the Iranians like to attack during the war games ended up sinking and exactly where they didnt want it to.
Forbes H.I. Sutton notes that Iranian armed forces, particularly the IRGC-N (Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy) delight in attacking the mock U.S. Navy aircraft carrier during Great Prophet wargames.
According to Popular Mechanics, the aircraft carrier was last attacked by the Iranians in 2015.
Its not just a great morale-booster for the Iranian armed forces, the military version of beating the computer in Tecmo Super Bowl to prove to yourself you really could have been a varsity running back in high school.
Its also featured in plenty of Iranian propaganda videos not that they give the context that its just a barge that isnt nearly the size of an actual American aircraft carrier and has none of its defense systems, to say nothing of American fighter jets or sailors on board.
Heres the 2015 attack:
This time, the Iranians hit the barge with one of their anti-ship missiles. They also had their troops descend via rope onto the deck of the fake carrier, where Im sure they killed lots of fake American sailors. Two-to-one odds say at least one of them pictured himself doing away with Maverick and Iceman from Top Gun.
Unfortunately, after the fake fun was over, Iran was left with a very real problem.
As the knockoff Nimitz was being towed back to port in Bandar Abbas, it began to sink from the damage the IRGC had inflicted upon it. On July 31, the military analysis site Aurora Intel published this satellite imagery of the ship in a decidedly un-towable condition: