I ran across an article the other day about a French submarine, operating as an enemy during a training exercise, that was able to target and claim they had destroyed the USS Theodore Roosevelt and most of her escorting ships. All joking aside, the French have a formidable fleet and are professional and well-trained sailors. The results of the exercise should provoke a lively debate in the US Navy about the survivability of the aircraft carriers and how the ships can be better protected.
The resurgent Russian state is targeting US and allied destroyers and cruisers in the Black Sea, training their pilots on how to evade ship’s defenses and become familiar with the idea of attacking US Navy ships. By training against potential enemies, even if the Russian behavior is, as the captain of the USS Donald Cook said, “provocative and inconsistent with international agreements,” is a viable form of training. Provocative it may be, but ship commanders and anti-air warfare specialists can learn a lot about both Russian tactics and our response from them.
Then there is Great Prophet 9, the Iranian exercise where they used speedboats and land-launched missiles to destroy a mockup of a Nimitz-class carrier. Although the article was interesting, it didn’t make me think that the Navy should refine its tactics to deal with Iran. It did make me realize, though, that the Iranians were showing terrorists that an American carrier could be vulnerable to suicide tactics.
Granted, the attack against the USS Cole in 2000 showed that American ships could be vulnerable, but there is a huge difference between attacking a destroyer and attacking an aircraft carrier. There is a huge difference between Great Prophet 9 and reality, for that matter.
“American aircraft carriers are very big ammunition depots housing a lot of missiles, rockets, torpedoes and everything else,” said Admiral Ali Fadavi, head of the Revolutionary Guard’s navy. He forgot to mention that they are also the most well-protected ships on the planet with plenty of escorting vessels to insure that speedboats won’t get close enough to use hand-held missile launchers against them. The admiral has said that his forces are capable of sinking US aircraft carriers.
The admiral might be right, in the most unimaginable set of circumstances that would ever come to pass. If the carrier was operating without escorts, if the carrier had forgotten to bring airplanes and if all of the defenses on the carrier were inoperable, then it might be possible for small boats to hurt a carrier.
“We’re quite confident of our naval forces’ ability to defend themselves,” said Commander Kevin Stephens, spokesman for the 5th fleet. “It seems they’ve attempted to destroy the equivalent of a Hollywood movie set.”
The Iranians aren’t stupid, but, the lesson they were attempting to show with the attack on the fake carrier would only be a message that terrorists were desperate enough to listen to.
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.