Friday, October 7, 2011

The Iranians are Coming, The Iranians are Coming!

There have been several references to the Iranian Navy's announcement that they will send a "fleet" off our shore to demonstrate their Naval prowess.  They even "leaked" the route the ships would take:

Let's see...if I were going to travel by sea from the Straits of Hormuz to the shores of America, that's pretty much the shortest route there...and as a former Navigator on a U.S. Navy destroyer, that's almost exactly the route we took one time.  We didn't end up in Cuba though and more on that anon.

Now before everyone hyperventilates about this, consider that a "fleet" is a corvette and a supply ship.  The corvette is the Alvand.  She is a Vosper class corvette, displacing about 1500 tons fully loaded...about 310 feet long.  To put that in perspective, your typical Arleigh Burke class destroyer, a centerpiece of the U.S. line of battle is 505' long and displaces 9000 tons.  This is what the Alvand looks like:
Alvand transiting Suez Canal
This is what her sister ship, the Sahand looked like after a brief encounter with the United States Navy in 1988:

This is when some Iranian gun boats went out and seized an oil drilling platform then fired on some U.S. warships that came to take a look.  All in all, I am reminded a little bit of the wonderful movie with Alan Arkin, "The Russians are Coming! The Russians are Coming!"

But there is more.  The second ship that will transit with the Alvand is the Krang:

She's not much to look at, but the issue is what will she be carrying.  As a warship, she is not subject to search when transiting the Suez.  We know from last year that this ship gave the Israelis some heart burn when she transited the Suez and headed for Syria.  Best bet is she's rigged to carry a lot more than fuel.

The map indicates that these ships will head to Cuba - no surprise there.  My guess is they will head to Venezuela too and stop by to see Achmadinijad's fellow tyrant, Chavez.  The concern I would have is that the Iranians know we have a porous southern border and they could use this transit as an opportunity to insert operatives and equipment that could wreak havoc at the appropriate time.  So this will be worth keeping an eye on.  But as for a Naval threat from our shore...I don't think so.

Rumble on!

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