Iran destroys mock U.S. aircraft carrier in naval wargames

Do you remember Iran’s mock Nimitz class flattop? Here’s what it was built for.

On Feb. 25, a mock U.S. aircraft carrier, was destroyed by missiles launched by Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps missiles during the IRGC Navy’s massive Payambar-e Azam 9 (The Great Prophet 9) drills in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz.

The model had first appeared in April last year, when images of the mock USS Nimitz class ship being assembled in an Iranian shipyard on the Persian Gulf had spread through social media.

Although the purpose of the fake carrier was not clear back then we mentioned the possibility the giant warship (adorned with several airplanes) might have been built to test weapons or serve as a training tool to develop tactics to attack a U.S. flattop in the Persian Gulf exploiting its vulnerabilities.

According to the FARS News Agency, the model came under attack and was destroyed by missiles and rockets fired from tens of IRGC speedboats; also a number of the IRGC cruise and two ballistic missiles were fired at the mock US aircraft carrier.

H/T to Giuliano Ranieri for the heads-up

About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.


  1. Hilarious! This is what you do when you can’t actually attack the real thing successfully. I put this into the same category as they’re new “stealth” fighter. :-)

  2. Russians developed tactics to just overwhelm/overload the defenses of a carrier strike force by sheer volume of missiles approaching from many different angles and altitudes.

    • John have you ever seen a Phalanx gun in action? My understanding is that most large ships have two or three of them on board and their motto is “if it flies it dies.” it is entirely possible our ships may need to add another one or two Phalanxes, but I’ll believe anyone can sink one of our aircraft carriers when it happens.

      what’s more is I have zero faith in the abilities of the Russians to deliver in a coordinated fashion a barrage of munitions sufficient to take out one of our ships.

      I mean, think about it. to overwhelm our fleet defenses, they would have to fire dozens of munitions from at least 10 different platforms — ships and planes — and those platforms would all have to be within the munition range of our carrier. there’s no way that our fleet defenses are going to allow that many weapons platforms within munitions range of our ships. ain’t going to happen — except in Putin’s wet dreams.

      • phalanx runs out of ammo in less than a minute and the soviet plan was to launch hundreds of missiles against a carrier battle group. from subs to surface ships to long range naval bombers mainly naval bombers hence why the phoenix missile system was developed for the f-14.

        You are talking to AT2 AW USN former. I know a little bit about the capabilities of the US Navy

  3. Yeah all of those little pontoon boats would be turned into rafts by the time all though fighter jets and helicopters where done with them, not to mention all the large guns the the aircraft carrier.

  4. LOL
    1st…an American Nimitz class carrier has a FLEET around it…It’s not all by it’s lonesome.
    2nd…they have 85 more or less aircraft on board to defend itself…it’s not going to sit there and allow a bunch of little nats to swarm around it.
    3…A Nimitz class carrier can do up to 35 knots…it isn’t exactly a slow target.
    4. the destroyers and frigates in the fleet protecting the carrier can by themselves handle anything the Iranians can throw at it.
    5. the biggest threat to an American aircraft carrier is sitting in the white house or out playing golf every day doing nothing to protect our country.
    I will give Iran this…their leaders at least want to protect their borders.

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