For those who don’t know yet or missed that information, this may sound like fake news but it’s not – Iran has an aircraft carrier, and they have had it since 2014. Iranian aircraft carrier resembles U.S. Navy’s Nimitz-class aircraft carrier. But to be honest this is real information but it’s actually a fake aircraft carrier.
It is the replica that carries 16 mock-ups of fighter jets on its deck and it seems to be about 650 feet (198 m) long and 160 feet wide. Compared to an actual Nimitz class aircraft carrier which is overall 1092 feet (333 m) long it is clear that this is not a full-size replica but about two-thirds of a real thing. Similarly, all the aircraft on the deck are also scale models. If we pursue differences further we would notice that half of the models are not even carrier-borne aircraft, for example, the F-5E Tiger-II which is still in front-line service with the Iranian Air Force (IRIAF).
The mock-up, which was noticed in January in Iran’s Gachin shipyard, near the port of Bandar Abbas, appears to be the same one used in February 2015 during a military exercise called “Great Prophet 9.” During that drill, Iran swarmed the fake aircraft carrier with speedboats firing machine guns and rockets. Surface-to-sea missiles later targeted and destroyed the fake carrier.
Back then, in 2013-14 Iran built a large-scale dummy US Navy aircraft carrier and they said it was “part of the decor” of a movie being made by Iranian director Nader Talebzadeh. The movie was about the 1988 shooting down of an Iran Air civilian plane by the USS Vincennes when all of the 290 passengers and crew were killed.
That was the official explanation of such a big effort of building a large-scale dummy aircraft carrier, but a few months later, in February 2015, they dramatically destroyed it in war games. It was hit by missiles, rockets, and an explosive boat. Images of its destruction were used in the propaganda highlight of the ‘Great Prophet 9’ exercises. But it wasn’t truly destroyed. After it was wrecked during the military exercises it has been discarded and anchored outside the main naval base at Bandar Abbas since then. Then during the late summer of 2019, it was brought inside the protection of the outer wall and the repairs were carried out, the deck painted and fake aircraft put back on deck.
It was noticed that a bulls-eye target has been painted onto the center of the flight deck with the assumption that it may be an aiming point for the Fateh-110 guided ballistic missile. It is believed those missiles have an anti-ship capability and were reportedly used in the 2015 exercise.
This mockup carrier’s next destruction may include a demonstration of new weapons which may include the indigenous Jask-2 submarine-launched anti-ship missile and remote-controlled explosive boats.
’Plywood’ carrier and its scale-model airplanes may look unconvincing and attacking and destroying this kind of target may look completely out of touch with real-world where the real aircraft carrier strike groups arrange their defensive perimeters in layers that reach out hundreds of miles. But it serves the real purpose and it is media propaganda after all.