Photos: Iran Readies Fake Aircraft Carrier for More Target Practice

Middle East

Judging by recent satellite photos, Iran seems to be preparing a mock-up carrier, modeled to look like the US Navy’s Nimitz-class ships, for some more target practice.

With a US carrier battle group off the coast and Washington a hair’s breadth from attacking, Iran’s military has begun preparing for a little target practice using a barge built to look like an aircraft carrier.

Photos from satellite imaging company Planet Labs provided to Defense One on Wednesday show the “carrier,” which was heavily damaged in a February 2015 turkey shoot, has been patched up, repainted and even has mock aircraft on its flight deck.

​Bryan Clark, a former special assistant to the US Navy and currently a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, told Defense One the mock carrier might feature in anticipated military exercises in March, which is the end of the Persian calendar year.

Clark noted the drills are more than just bravado: they enable the Iranian military to test targeting the vital parts of the massive ship, which is nearly 1,100 feet long.

“A carrier is obviously very big. To attack it with cruise missiles, you have to be able to hit the right aim point,” Clark said. “Otherwise you will just cause fires. You won’t sink it.”

“You could take a seeker off a cruise missile, put it on an airplane, fly it around, see how well the seeker works against this type of target …You…

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