Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard on Tuesday used massed speedboats, missiles, commandos and helicopter-borne rockets to overwhelm a fake aircraft carrier as guard commander, Major General Hossein Salami, looked on.
The unmanned wooden target remained stationary and defenseless in the strategic Strait of Hormuz during the entire drill.
In a military move designed to threaten the U.S. amid growing regional tensions between Tehran and Washington, Salami looked well pleased as Iranian special forces fast-roped onto the replica in the footage released from an exercise called “Great Prophet 14.”
Vision (see above) also showed a helicopter firing a missile at the replica, complete with 16 fake fighter jets on board, while fast boats encircled the vessel as crews cried out with blood-curdling threats against the U.S. Navy and its sailors.
Iranian troops on land meanwhile fired anti-aircraft batteries as a drone target in the exercise from a location state television described as being near the port city of Bandar Abbas.
As Breitbart News reported last month, the vessel resembles the Nimitz-class carriers the U.S. Navy sails into the Persian Gulf from the Strait of Hormuz, its narrow mouth through which 20 percent of the world’s oil passes.
It was towed to the scene late Sunday and anchored in place and made ready to be the target for the sea, land and air assault.
The U.S. Navy’s Bahrain-based 5th Fleet did not comment.
However, on Monday a spokeswoman said the Navy remains “confident in our naval forces’ ability to defend themselves against any maritime threat” after satellite photos showed the fake carrier being readied for its role as a defenseless target.
“We cannot speak to what Iran hopes to gain by building this mockup, or what tactical value they would hope to gain by using such a mock-up in a training or exercise scenario,” Cmdr. Rebecca Rebarich told The Associated Press then. “We do not seek conflict, but remain ready to defend U.S. forces and interests from maritime threats in the region.”
Tuesday’s exercise was seen as especially provident in Iran because nobody was killed in the process, as has happened before.
As Breitbart News reported, in May 19 sailors died and 15 others were left wounded after an Iranian naval support vessel was hit and sunk by a surface-to-surface missile in a “friendly fire” incident later described as “a bit of an accident” by Iranian authorites.
The sinking happened during an exercise in the Sea of Oman, near the Iranian port city of Jask, according to one Iran state media outlet that also confirmed the surprise “martyrdom” of the deceased crewmen.
AP contributed to this report