JERUSALEM – An Iranian admiral said this week that his forces are capable of sinking a U.S. aircraft carrier in less than a minute and destroying any U.S. naval force it confronts.
Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi, commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Navy, said that the realistic looking mockup of a Nimitz class carrier seen in recent satellite images was part of an intensive training program wherein his forces attack replicas of American naval vessels they are likely to encounter. In an interview with the Iranian news agency, Fars, he said his forces could sink an American carrier “in less than a minute”. One of the operational goals of the IRGC Navy, said the admiral, “is destruction of the U.S. naval force.”
Fadavi said his navy has built replicas of American destroyers, frigates, and other warships for training purposes. “We have been making and sinking these replicas for many years". In these exercises, replicas have been sunk in as little as 50 seconds “through a series of operational measures,” said Fadavi. It is not clear if the replicas could actually sail or whether they were merely towed for target practice.
Nuclear-powered Nimitz-class carriers are the largest warships in the world and the mainstay of U.S. naval forces in the Persian Gulf. The Iranian-built mockup seen in the satellite images at dockside in a shipyard near Bandar Abbas even had replicas of warplanes on its deck.
Iran has previously warned that American warships in the Gulf were in range of combat drones and anti-ship missiles. Fadavi quoted an American think tank, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, as declaring that the IRGC navy has been transformed into a force “capable of executing its unique doctrine of asymmetric naval warfare against larger naval forces”.
The Iranians have threatened to seal off the Strait of Hormuz, a major oil shipping route which opens into the Persian Gulf, in the event of an attack by the United States or Israel. American naval commanders have said that the United States would not allow Iran to “hold hostage” nearly a third of the world’s oil supply.