Hey Iran, look what we’ve got

The US, Great Britain, and France have shown that Iran haven’t a shit show in closing the Straits of Hormuz:

Britain, America and France delivered a pointed signal to Iran, sending six warships led by a 100,000 ton aircraft carrier through the highly sensitive waters of the Strait of Hormuz.

This deployment defied explicit Iranian threats to close the waterway. It coincided with an escalation in the West’s confrontation with Iran over the country’s nuclear ambitions.

European Union foreign ministers are today expected to announce an embargo on Iranian oil exports, amounting to the most significant package of sanctions yet agreed. They are also likely to impose a partial freeze on assets held by the Iranian Central Bank in the EU.

Tehran has threatened to block the Strait of Hormuz in retaliation. Tankers carrying 17 million barrels of oil pass through this waterway every day, accounting for 35 per cent of the world’s seaborne crude shipments. At its narrowest point, located between Iran and Oman, the Strait is only 21 miles wide.

Last month, Admiral Habibollah Sayyari, commander of the Iranian navy, claimed that closing the Strait would be “easy,” adding: “As Iranians say, it will be easier than drinking a glass of water.”

But USS Abraham Lincoln, a nuclear-powered carrier capable of embarking 90 aircraft, passed through this channel and entered the Gulf without incident yesterday. HMS Argyll, a Type 23 frigate from the Royal Navy, was one of the escort vessels making up the carrier battle-group. A guided missile cruiser and two destroyers from the US Navy completed the flotilla, along with one warship from the French navy.


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  • Gazzaw

    “easier than drinking a glass of water”.

    Typical bullshit rhetoric that we have come to expect. Actions speak louder than words.Presumably Sayyari has figured that it’s what he can’t see that he should be more worried about. How many of the USN’s 18 Ohio Class subs are there as well?  

    • ConwayCaptain

      Brits have a Trafalgar C;lass SSN there

    • Guest

      Highly unlikely that the Americans would risk a nuclear armed ballistic missile sub to traverse the Straits of Hormuz. 

      Far more likely that there are a number of cruise missile subs like improved 688s lurking off the coast of Iran in the Persian gulf.

      Granted, the Americans may have deployed an Ohio class cruise missile sub (the converted series), but given that Tomahawk cruise missiles can be fired from far away, the Ohio is probably in the open seas in the Gulf of Oman. A 900 nautical mile missile could easily be fired from there and reach most of Iran.

      • Gazzaw

        Totally agree. I didnt mean to indicate that an Ohio would be in the Straits – no point in that at all.

  • ConwayCaptain

    The Straits are 50m deep so a few well placed mines would do the trick.  Then the RN Mine hunters would have to go in and clear them.

    However if they did that they know that the fire power of the USN would be let loose.

    The USN Carrier has more airpower than the entire Iranian Navy.  The other concern are the Silkworm missiles overlooking the strait.  The Iranians could also let loose their proxies Hizbollah.

    What hasnt been said is that the PRC is concerned and has halved its purchases of crude from Iran and will reduce further.  The Rial is in free fall acusing inflation on the streets.  Iran also imports most of its petrol and if they cant pay for this then they are like Carnival Cruises in deep doo doo.

    When the Iranian mob takes to the streets and vents their frustrations on the Mullahs and the Republican Guard look out.

    We do live in interesting times.

    • Quintin Hogg

      The silkworms are the things that would concern the US and its friends the most. 

      The distance they would travel to hit a vesel transiting the straits would mean there would be little time to engage it with anti missile weaponry.

      One missile could make the carrier look rather sick and reduce it’s effectiveness to nil.  Mind you the response would be impressive.

      I had look recently at the Iranian navy list as best it can be discerned. 

      There are a number of home grown inshore submarines and high speed launches that have no apparent purpose except to deliver torpedoes or missiles and then enable the crew to meet Allah. 

      These low tech weapons en masse sometimes deliver a bigger bang than the ones with all the bells and whistles.

      There are some frigates as well but I suspect they would already be in some-ones targeting computer.

      • ConwayCaptain

        The RN is positioning HMS Daring the first of the Type 45s.  These can handle something like 200 inbound targets at a time and are the most advanced air defence vessels in the world.

        They also have the close in Goalkeepe/Phalanx system for swarm attacks by the small fast vessels.

        I would think if the Iranians tried it on there would be a queue to meet Allah.  Thjere are reports now that there is a distinct shortage of virgins in Paradise to meet the demands of the Martyrs.  Will it be like the IRan Iraq war when the Iranians were sending teenagers in like the Somme and they had the Keys to Paradise on a string around their neck.

      • Engineer

        I think that if the fighting starts the US carriers will sit way out in the Indian ocean, and pummel the snot out of Iran from there.  They are not going to sit in the 21km wide straights to be targets.  In fact most of the US planes can re-fuel in flight so they could be launhced from anywhere really, it won’t just be the navy involved.

        huzzah “Operational range
        2,000 nautical miles (3,704 km)” ….
        “The B-52H bomber can carry up to six AGM-129A missiles on each of two external pylons for a total of 12 per aircraft”

      • Quintin Hogg

        I looked at the Type 45 the other day whilst engaging in work avoidance.

        It looks like an effective platform.  We will only really know how effective it is if the Iranians decide to chuck some rocks at it.

        Engineer, The US Carrier group transited the Straits yesterday and are inside the Persian Gulf.

        I expect the B52’s at Deigo Garcia are on stand by to provide some entertainment for the Iranians if the rock throwing starts.

      • Guest

        And remember, while the Iranians start focusing all their attention on the south, US Air Forces based in Europe will get NATO/Turkish clearance to operate from Southern Europe and Incirclik. US Air Forces in the KSA will also be able to overfly Iraq to reach targets, as would US forces in Afghanistan. The only boundary the Iranians could count on to not face US/NATO forces would be from Russia and the former Soviet republics.  

  • devlsadvocate

    Yeah, it would be pathetically easy to close the Strait of Hormuz….

    …just as it would be to reopen it. They might not like the key much, though…

  • EX Navy Greg

    Silkworms are not a serious threat to a warship.CIWS phalanx is designed exactly for that type of thing, even our Anzac frigates are fitted with them ,servicing them was my 9-5 job.Good link here:

    (US warship in the video)

  • Michael

    Anyone remember the Tanker War of the 1980s? The Soviets and Americans ended up defending all the Kuwaiti and US tankers and freighters travelling along the Persian Gulf from Iranian attacks. So the Iranians backed down then, they’ll do the same again – especially after Flight 655.

    • MrV

      And who started the Iran-Iraq war?

  • Hakim of Phut

    Remember the IRI only has to stop the tankers. And these speedboats are all they need with light weapons.

    They arent going to make the same mistake the Germans did in   both WW. Go for the merchant ships  with the smallest technology you have and where you have an advantage. Plus its Irans coastline they would operate from.

  • Chris Trotter

    Does anyone know the variety of surface-to-surface missile Hizbollah employed to sink an Israeli naval vessel in the last Israeli-Lebanese conflict? Since it was almost certainly sourced from Iran (who may have acquired it from the Russians) and easily evaded the Israeli’s defensive measures, perhaps the defence of the Straits of Ormuz is a slightly more problematic exercise than some of you seem to believe.

    It would be a shame if the USS Abraham Lincoln met the same fate as HMS Repulse and HMS Prince of Wales.

    • EX Navy Greg

      Zvezda KH 35 ( damaged, not sunk )

    • Unknown

      Hi Chris,  I think the example that you’re thinking of turned out to be a piece of Hizbollah propaganda.

    • EX Navy Greg

      What actually happened is this. The Isreali fire control crew were undergoing instruction.
      While the Chief was demonstrating how they could pick up a bird sized target off the bow at 10 miles range, Johnny Arab shot them up the arse with a big ol’ relic from the 80’s.
      It was a massive failure on the part of the fire control team, and several heads rolled after that one.The ship was damaged but managed to return to port under her own power.

    • Thorn


      The Western warships are sailing into harm’s way and one hopes their training and technology are up to the dangers facing them. I for one am very grateful for the action being taken in keeping the Strait of Hormuz open for shipping.And it is the Western way to protect your right to weasel word your hopes the task force is destroyed – not Hamas or the mullahs. No wonder your own family publicly despise you. 

    • niggly

      “It would be a shame if the USS Abraham Lincoln met the same fate as HMS Repulse and HMS Prince of Wales.”

      Unlikely, as:

      *the warhead wouldn’t be large enough to sink an aircraft carrier.
      *an aircraft carrier (eg USN) operates as part of a larger carrier battle group with other warships (and “assets”) there to screen out such attacks.
      *finally people don’t seem to realise that, such missiles need to be targeted in the first place. The US (especially) would attack Iranian targeting & communication systems at the beginning of any flare up of hostilities, rending many of these missiles ineffective.

      However, I do feel your analogy may be apt in other ways. Swarms of Revolutionary Guard “speed boats” (or Fast Inshore Attack Craft – FIAC) bristling with heavy machine guns and smaller missiles, whilst unlikey ever to get anywhere near a Carrier battle group, could do damage to civilian tankers and smaller sole naval patrol craft (simply from overwhelming the self-defence systems of such vessels). They may not sink such vessels but one could imagine the propaganda value for Iran to crow that they forced the “great satan” vessels to pull back.

      Fortunately though Navy’s are wising up to this threat eg even the RNZN Frigates have had their CIWS system upgraded to “Block 1B” standard in the last year or so to counter such threats (FIAC’s, as well as traditional anti-ship missiles) and also have had installed a couple of optically/remote controlled “Mini Typhoon” heavy machine guns to give extra coverage.

      However, with these multiple/swarm “assymetrical” FIAC threats, I can’t help wondering whether, like the fate of HMS Repulse and POW, perhaps an additional CIWS fore on the RNZN frigates and a couple more Mini Typhoons might be a handy insurance policy against such overwhelming attacks (realtively speaking these systems cost a few million dollars as opposed to tens or hundreds of million etc). Iran won’t be the only country to figure out swarm attacks might be useful ploy when against overwhelming firepower designed for more traditional warfighting etc.

      • EX Navy Greg

        Correct niggly. The block 1B mods are specifically designed to engage small fast moving targets. Infrared acquisition will also make a huge difference .
        I was disappointed the powers that be declined to upgrade the ” 8 barrel” mk41 VLS missile system, one of the reasons I left.
        Very pleased to hear HMS Daring has entered the operation, the Poms have built the best warships for the last 200 years, way better than anything out of a USN dockyard. As a serviceman until very recently, I would be happy to serve on our Anzac’s  in the Persian Gulf. ( again )
        No need for another CIWS, one is enough, and at $ 25 mil per unit…

      • niggly

        Cheers Greg, but just thinking though if the CIWS was inoperable for any reason (jam/malfunction/shot up), relying on the one unit without any redundancy may be risky especially if they are the last line of defence against missile strikes etc. (Eg noticed the Turkish version of the Meko “ANZAC” Frigates have fore and aft CIWS’s).

        Anyways, I believe around 2015 is when the VLS is to be upgraded to the quad pack ESSM …. heh heh perhaps you may wanna sign back up!

  • ConwayCaptain

    The Type 45s are a VAST improvement on the Type 42s (Sheffield and Coventry) that were lost in the Falklands and their Samson radar system is considered to be the best in the world.

    Their damage control would also be far in advance of the Costa Concordia as well!!!!!  They have been through Flag Officer Sea Training which works up all RN/RFA vessels and many of the NATO countries navies.

  • Chris Trotter

    Not entirely propaganda, Unknown. The missile struck the warship but, contrary to my earlier posting, it failed to sink it – at least that’s what the Israeli’s told the world. Hezbollah, of course, told a different story.

  • Roger de Laborde

    The only problem is that the Iranian president is a madman who thinks that he is destined to bring about an apocalypse that will reveal the 12th Imam to the world.

  • Iran has other ways of striking back.

    1) It funds terrorist groups and it can simply get it’s friends to cause mayhem elsewhere.
    2) It is a huge country with a huge population. A war with Iran operating with the aim of invading the country would not be a simple as the Iraq war. 
    3) It may have nuclear weapons already. – Not impossible that it already has the bomb, all you need is enough enriched Uranium – The South Africans made their bombs this way. Still this is quite difficult which is why plutonium bombs are preferred. 
    4) It could invade Iraq since there are no Americans there and the Iraqi army has enough on it’s hands simply holding the country together. (Unlikely).
    5) Air attack on the oil terminals by air.
    6) Does it have chemical and biological weapons?

    Still holding the blockade of the straights would be difficult in the long term.

    But with threats of war going on in the gulf we better buy some more petrol.

    I suspect that most of what is going on now is just face saving bluster. 

    As an aside the people of Iran do not consider themselves Arabs, they consider themselves Persians. It would be like calling Whale Oil an Australian. 

    • Super Guest

      Actually, even Arabs call them Persians, not Iranians. And they don’t like them. Then again, who in the right mind would “like” Iran considering it’s current state.

  • Gee this is fun reading -so many experts here.

    • Joes

      NZ is blessed to have so many people that are experts in international diplomacy and strategic planning. We don’t need no technology with the brains these guys have.  I do like thor’s comment though.

  • Anonymous

    The Persian people are good people (well, apart from the Basij). It’s just a shame that their leaders (Ahmadinnerjacket, the mullahs and imams) are complete arseholes.
    I worked with a Persian woman not long ago, and she was hot enough that she could fry an egg by walking into a room. Absolutely **stunning**.