An impressive naval armada was arranged for RIMPAC 2014 photo.
It does not happen too soon to see +40 warships sailing together.
The reason is quite obvious: first, there are some navies that are made by little more (if not less) than 40 serviceable surface ships. Second, even though it would not be that easy to come too close to the naval formation (considered that the flagship is a U.S. nuclear-powered aircraft carrier), this *could be* an huge target for air, naval and underwater assets involved in maritime attack/anti-ship missions.
Nevertheless, the sight is quite impressive and, alone, it can represent a good deterrent.
The photo was actually taken during RIMPAC 2014, the 24th exercise in the series of world’s largest international maritime warfare exercise taking place in the Pacific Ocean from Jun. 26 to Aug. 1.
Twenty-two nations are taking part to this year’s edition of the drills that marks the first particpation of China with four ships belonging to the People’s Liberation Army Navy.
RIMPAC 2014 reportedly involve 55 vessels, more than 200 aircraft, and some 25,000 personnel.
The wrecked ship was hauled upright last year and eventually re-floated on Jul. 14. Kept afloat by giant buoyancy chambers, it is currently being towed by dozen vessels.
The removal and the subsequent journey to the Genoa scrapyard in northwestern Italy is being filmed by drones, that provide a unique point of view on one of the biggest maritime salvage operations ever attempted.
By means of AIS (Automatic Identification System), an automatic tracking system used for identification and geo-localization of vessels that can be considered the naval homologous of the ADS-B used by airplanes you can follow the ship being towed by tug boats in real time here.
The Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution have used the social network to make public their plan to attack enemy ships in the Strait of Hormuz.
The IRGC (Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps), the branch of Iran’s military whose role is to protect Tehran’s Islamic system, have published on Twitter an interesting drawing showing how they imagine an attack to an enemy warship entering the Persian Gulf.
The plan is use several different weapons systems in a coordinated attack opened by high speed boats, used to create a diversion.
According to Good Morning Iran blog, that translated the text accompanying the rendering, the plan assumes that Iranian high speed boats, equipped with missiles and mines, and disguising themselves as normal fishing boats, would carry out an initial attack against the enemy ship.
The latter could be the two types showcased during an exhibition held by the IRGC on May 11.
The new home-made ballistic missiles, an upgraded version of the solid-fuel, supersonic Iranian anti-ship missile dubbed Persian Gulf equipped with a 650-kg warhead, are dubbed Hormuz 1 and Hormuz 2.
Both missiles are believed to be more powerful than the Persian Gulf, with the Hormuz 1 being an anti-radar missile with a range of 300 kilometers.
Image credit: Tasnim News Agency
That said, the plan is obviously quite optimistic, as it considers a U.S. warship as an isolated unit, whereas the latter may operate within a large, powerful and very well defended Carried Strike Group, which includes an aircraft carrier, destroyers, supporting vessels and, often, a nuclear submarine, whose task is, among the others, to defend the Group from underwater attacks.
A reader has found that the image posted by the Pasdaran on Twitter is an infographic posted in the past by the Wall Street Journal. IRGC replaced the English text with Farsi: therefore, even if it’s not their original work, the fact they translated and published it on Twitter means they consider it accurate and most probably coherent with their plan.
However, the SpaceX launch was delayed and, since then, the ship has moved back and forth along U.S. East coast: it headed southbound, has made a port visit to Curacao, then it has operated in the Caribbean Sea and eventually returned more or less where it was on Mar. 15 and it is right now: off Cape Canaveral.
The fact that the tug moved off Cape Kennedy in the days of the scheduled launch of SpaceX and returned there in anticipation of the new launch window suggests that the “Nikolay Chiker” is somehow interested in observing the Falcon 9 rocket and the Dragon spacecraft on the company’s third commercial resupply mission and fourth visit to the space station.
However, there’s someone who suggested that the ocean tug is actually supporting Russian nuclear attack submarines monitoring U.S. Navy East coast bases.
Hard to say.
For sure the Russian tug is not there by accident. During the Cold War, Russian and Americans have monitored each others special special operations, military exercises, invasions, maiden flights etc. This is not changed with the collapse of the USSR. On the contrary, close encounters (as the one in the Black Sea) and reciprocal snooping are probably going to increase.
U.S. Navy’s USS Mount Whitney and USS Taylor have entered the Black Sea and are currently operating west of Sochi.
An amphibious command ship and a guided-missile frigate, on a routine and pre-scheduled deployment within the Sixth Fleet AOR (Area of Responsibility) have arrived near Sochi, the resort town on Russia’s Black Sea coast.
Their position can be tracked online using Shipfinder.net.
Indeed, they are using AIS (Automatic Identification System), an automatic tracking system used for identification and geo-localization of vessels that can be considered the naval homologous of the ADS-B used by airplanes and it is used for collision avoidance, search and rescue, and for aids to navigation.
It is mainly used by commercial vessels but even US Navy warships trasmit AIS signals every now and then.
Here below you can see a screenshot from Shipfinder, showing the position of USS Taylor (on top of the article you’ll see the position of USS Mount Whitney).
Image credit: Shipfinder.net
USS Mount Whitney is the flagship of the U.S. Navy’s 6th Fleet. As it did during the Libya Air War back in 2011, it will perform the command-and-control task, managing all the military activities related to the Winter Olympic Games security.
USS Taylor is an Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate that is on its last deployment before being retired next year. The warship has been stripped out of the main AAW (Anti-Aircraft Warfare) armament and, along with a limited “Point Defense” capability, it usually performs a POS (Protection Of Shipping) mission offering an ASW (Anti-Submarine Warfare) escort to other U.S. Navy units. The ship carrier two SH-60 Light Airborne Multi-Purpose System (LAMPS) helos, that can be used for the maritime warfare with a secondary search and rescue capability.
Hence, while USS Mount Whitney will coordinate any aerial or maritime operation following an eventual terrorist attack, the USS Taylor will provide cover (most probably keeping also an eye on the Russian submarines, spy ships and Moskva, the flagship of guided missile cruisers in the Russian Navy, that are operating in the same waters…)
Fears over terrorism increased in the last months following the threats against athletes and, above all, following suicide attacks on Volgograd in December last year.