Tag Archives: Persian Gulf

The U.S. Air Force has moved more A-10 Thunderbolt attack planes to the “Arabian Gulf”

U.S. A-10s have arrived in Qatar to take part in regional exercises.

Six A-10 Thunderbolts and more than 120 personnel assigned to the 190th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron have arrived to Al Udeid airbase, in Qatar to take part in three major exercises in the region.

The Thunderbolts and accompanying servicemen are from the 190th Fighter Squadron, 124th Fighter Wing, at Gowen Field Air National Guard Base, Boise, Idaho.

Noteworthy, even though several platforms will participate in the drills, the focus of these exercises will be more heavily on the A-10 and aimed at sharing pilots expertise in several areas mastered by the Warthog: close air support, forward air patrol, and combat search and rescue.

Usually, combat planes already in theater support these exercises; however, as explained by the Air Force Central Command: “because of the increased operations tempo required to support real-world operations like Operation Inherent Resolve, the Air Force has tasked units not currently engaged in the combat operations to participate in the regional exercises.”

According to the Air Force, the Air National Guard Thunderbolts have already taken part in one exercise but exact locations for the remaining two exercises are not released “due to host-nation sensitivities.”

For sure, some local nation, possibly one of those already involved in the air war on ISIS in Syria and Iraq is due to attend the exercises. Worth of note is the way the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy have started to refer to the Persian Gulf.

Here is an excerpt from the official USAF press release (highlight mine):

“We want to give our young pilots the experience of flying in the Arabian Gulf and allow them to see what it’s like operating with different procedures in different countries.”

Although the name of the body of water between the Arabian peninsula and Iran is historically and internationally known as the Persian Gulf after the land of Persia (Iran), some Arab countries have disputed the naming convention since the 1960s. The U.S. military is frequently using the term Arabian Gulf instead of Persian Gulf, most probably as a sign of the Washington armed forces’ will to follow local conventions or laws that ban the use of “Persian Gulf”.

For instance, the caption of the photos that showed a French Navy Rafale operate from the USS Carl Vinson in the Persian Gulf, referred to the waters of the Persian Gulf as “Arabian Gulf”.

Anyway, the A-10s are still heavily employed in theaters across the world in spite of their planned withdrawal.

A-10 Al Udeid

Image above: an A-10 deployed at Al Udeid (U.S. Air Force)


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 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


The Pasdaran have published on Twitter how they would attack a U.S. ship in the Strait of Hormuz

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.

While facing the boats, the U.S. warship would be attacked by Iranian submarines, baked by IRIAF (Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force) warplanes, including some F-14 Tomcat jets with indigenous modifications (most probably providing some sort of air superiority in the vicinity), followed by ballistic missiles.

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.

Anyway, the plan and the mock aircraft carrier being built by Iran are a sign Tehran is focusing on developing tactics to defeat the U.S. Navy in the Gulf. Not an easy task though.

Update May 23, 2014, 22.20 GMT:

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.



Top image credit: IRGC


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[Photo] U.S. F-22 Raptors refuel from KC-135 over the Persian Gulf

U.S. F-22 stealth jets deployed in the Gulf take fuel from a KC-135 Stratotanker.

In order to keep their radar invisibility, U.S. F-22 Raptor multirole jets operating from Al Dhafra, UAE, fly their Combat Air Patrol missions over the Persian Gulf without their underwing tanks.

Refuel close up

That’s why they may need several plugs into aerial refuelers booms to extend their endurance.

Refuel close up 3

F-22s also fly HVAAE (High Value Asset Air Escort) escorting UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) that operate along the boundaries of the Iranian airspace: during one such missions a Raptor discouraged two Iranian F-4s that were trying to intercept a Raptor drone.

Refuel close up 2

Image credit: U.S. Air Force


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[Photo] Iranian P-3F maritime patrol plane “buzzes” U.S. carrier’s control tower

New images show how close to the U.S. carriers operating in the Strait of Hormutz, Iranian planes fly.

We have recently published some images showing an F/A-18E Super Hornet escorting an IRIAF (Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force) P-3F flying quite close to USS Abraham Lincoln in the Persian Gulf.

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.

P-3F IRIAF back

Image credit: U.S. Navy via Militaryphotos.net (thanks to FdeStV and Kasra Ghanbari for the heads-up)


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