Iran blasted its mock-up of a U.S. aircraft carrier during naval drills on Wednesday, swarming the target with 100 speedboats armed with rockets, shoulder-launched missiles and mortars as well as striking it with cruise missiles, according to reports from Iran’s semi-official Fars News Agency.
Iran said the aircraft carrier target was a full-size replica of the USS Nimitz.
“Iranian naval forces displayed their skills in targeting enemy vessels and destroyed a mock U.S. aircraft carrier during the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps Navy’s massive Payambar-e Azam 9 (The Great Prophet 9) wargames in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz,” read a video caption on Fars’ website.
When U.S. officials first learned of the existence of the mock carrier last year, one described it as more akin to a Hollywood set than an actual warship.
But the symbolism is clear. Nimitz-class carriers are the centerpiece of U.S. naval forces, and the largest warships in the world.
Mine-laying exercises were also part of the war games, according to the Fars report.
Rear Adm. Ali Fadavi, commander of the Iranian naval forces, described that portion of the games as “the most important concern of the Americans.”
“We have the most advanced sea mines which cannot be imagined by the Americans,” he is quoted as saying in the Fars report.
Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami, lieutenant commander of the Revolutionary Guard, said Iran wasn’t showing off all its capabilities during the games, according to a Fars report.
“We have capabilities which will remain covert and hidden before being used in action and we will merely use them in the battlefield,” Salami said in the report.
A U.S. Navy spokesman in Bahrain told the Associated Press that the United States “was not concerned about this exercise.”
“We’re quite confident of our naval forces’ ability to defend themselves,” Cmdr. Kevin Stephens said.