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In a War, Iran Could Go After a U.S. Navy Aircraft Carrier and Win

Kyle Mizokami
(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Karl Anderson/Released)

Kyle Mizokami

Security, Middle East

Here's how.

In a War, Iran Could Go After a U.S. Navy Aircraft Carrier and Win

Iran would likely want to pull an American carrier battle group as close to the Iran coastline as possible. This would allow the country to disperse its fleet of ballistic missiles across a wider area and farther inland, giving them a better chance of escaping detection before launch.

Recent events, particularly the downing of a U.S. Navy MQ-4 Triton by Iranian military forces, again raise the possibility of war between the United States and Iran. The on again, off again standoff between Washington and Tehran, now in its fourth decade is periodically instigated by both sides, and each time Iran grows stronger. If Iran decides to stage an attack against a larger target, such as an American destroyer or even aircraft carrier, how might it use its missile force to do so? 

Iran has invested considerable resources in its ballistic missile forces over the past forty years, for the same reason China and North Korea did: military aviation is an expensive proposition, and developing and maintaining an air force to rival the United States is very expensive indeed. Ballistic missiles offer a relatively inexpensive way to launch conventional, chemical, biological, and even nuclear payloads long distances. As an added bonus intercepting such missiles is complex and itself an expensive undertaking. All three countries developed large ballistic missile arsenals of varying sophistication, occasionally trading in illicit information among themselves and others. 

(This first appeared in June 2019.)

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