Iran builds fake U.S. Navy aircraft carrier for target practice
June 11, 2020 - As tensions remain high between Iran and the U.S., the Islamic Republic appears to have constructed a new mock-up of an aircraft carrier off its southern coast for potential live-fire drills.
The fake vessel, seen in satellite photographs obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press, resembles the Nimitz-class carriers that the U.S. Navy routinely sails into the Persian Gulf from the Strait of Hormuz, its narrow mouth where 20 percent of all the world’s oil passes through.
While not yet acknowledged by Iranian officials, the replica’s appearance in the port city of Bandar Abbas suggests Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard is preparing an encore of a similar mock-sinking it conducted in 2015.
The replica carries 16 sub-scale models of U.S. fighter jets on its deck, according to satellite photos taken by Maxar Technologies. The vessel appears to be some 200 meters long, less than two-thirds the length of a real Nimitz-class carrier.
The mock-up, which first began to be noticed among defence and intelligence analysts in January, strongly resembles a similar one used in February 2015 during a military exercise called “Great Prophet 9.” During that drill, Iran swarmed the fake aircraft carrier with speedboats firing machine guns and rockets. Surface-to-sea missiles later targeted and destroyed the fake carrier.