Recent satellite imagery showed Tehran is building a fake U.S. aircraft. New photographs prove that Iran’s Nimitz class mock flattop hosts several (fake) planes, including some CAG birds and a Jolly Rogers F/A-18 Hornet.
Iran is not only working on a mock American aircraft carrier. New images posted on Facebook show that the USS Nimitz class ship being assembled in an Iranian shipyard on the Persian Gulf most probably for propaganda purposes (do you remember the F-313 Qaher stealth jet?) or as a movie prop, now features also some embarked planes.
Noteworthy, along with some F-5 Tiger aircraft (serving with the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force but not existing in a carrier-variant) parked on the flight deck of the fake Iranian carrier there are also some fake F/A-18 Hornets.
One of the two in special color scheme sports the unique livery and markings of the legendary VFA-103 “Jolly Rogers”.
The Jolly Rogers are one of the most famous squadron in U.S. Navy. They currently fly the F/A-18F Super Hornet adorned with Ensign Jack Ernie’s skull-and-crossbones on all-black tails, their symbol and probably the most recognizable one in Naval Aviation (to such an extent you can find it in Disney’s “Planes” cartoon).
The reason for using CAG (Carrier Air Group) planes in special colors makes Iran’s mysterious aircraft carrier’s flight deck slightly more realistic but the question remains: why did Tehran spend so much money to build such a huge model?
Here you can find some new photographs taken from aboard the U.S. flattop as the P-3F took a close look at the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier (ok, it’s not really buzzing the tower, but it’s not that far away).
It’s unclear whether the “flyby” was conducted on the same day the Iranian plane was escorted by the Hornet; still, the new images not only prove close encounters in the region occur but they also clearly show the indiscreet Orion in the “exotic” IRIAF color scheme.
Image credit: U.S. Navy via Militaryphotos.net (thanks to FdeStV and Kasra Ghanbari for the heads-up)
In 2012 a P-3 Orion decided to fly close to a U.S. carrier at sea. And these images show what happened next.
The images in this post, published on an Iranian site (that is currently down) were probably between January and June 2012, when USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72) operated in the Persian Gulf.
They show what happens each time an Iranian Navy Fokker 27 or P-3 Orion (as in this case) decides to skirt an American flattops that is operating within the Fifth Fleet AOR (Area Of Responsibility): it’s intercepted and escorted (in this case by an F/A-18E Super Hornet of the VFA-137 “Kestrels” in cool digital color scheme.
Since these maritime patrol planes fly in international airspace and don’t pose a real threat to the Strike Group, the aircraft carrier doesn’t need to take any real defensive action other than tracking the surveillance plane all time or divert one of its fighter jets to intercept it.
Aircraft carriers don’t even need to change their course if a spyplane pops up on the radar, provided that it is not armed and it doesn’t show an aggressive behaviour.
The S-300 is a Soviet long range SAM (Surface to Air Missile) developed to defend against aircraft and cruise missiles with variants developed to intercept ballistic missiles.
The Iranian Air Defense Forces have some modern air defense systems such as the Russian built Tor M-1 and legacy air defense systems such as US made I-Hawk MIM-23, or Russian built SAM-6 and S-200 systems.
Almost all of these air defense systems are designed to deal with low to medium altitude targets, save for the legacy S-200 of which Iran has a handful. It must be noted that some of Syria’s Sa-17 air defense systems have found their way to Iran through Lebanon’s terrorist group Hezbollah which upon arrival, were given a new paint scheme and an Arabic name ‘Raad.’ Some analysts have rightly speculated that Iran has been the actual financier of these expensive purchases by the Syrians in the first place.
Iran’s plans to obtain the sophisticated S-300 missile system stems from the regime’s desire to protect its nuclear facilities from a possible US or Israeli air strike. The original deal was suspended by the Russian government out of respect for the United Nations’ embargoes on the Iranians.