Iran Building Fake US Carrier ... to Blow Up?
US officials say it could be for propaganda boost
By Arden Dier, Newser Staff
Posted Mar 21, 2014 8:44 AM CDT
In this Nov. 12, 2011file photo, the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) transits the Straits of Hormuz.   (AP Photo/U.S. Navy, Petty Officer 3rd Class Kenneth Abbate, File)

(Newser) – A ship nearing completion in Iran looks rather familiar to American eyes: US officials say it's a sort of replica of the Navy's Nimitz-class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier—it even has the Nimitz's number 68 painted near the bow—except that it's not actually a working aircraft carrier. "Based on our observations ... it's a large barge built to look like an aircraft carrier," a Navy spokesman says, noting it was first spotted on satellite images last summer. "We're not sure what Iran hopes to gain by building this." One theory, according to officials: The country could drag it to sea and blow it up while filming the exercise "for propaganda value," if things don't go their way during talks with the West over Iran's nuclear program, the New York Times reports.

US officials don't believe Iran has the wherewithal to build a true aircraft carrier, and note that what has been dubbed the "Target Barge" doesn't have a nuclear propulsion system and clocks in at two-thirds the length of the US version, though it does come with fake fighter jets splayed on the deck. As for why they're revealing the non-threat, they say they just want to show they're a step ahead of the Iranians. What's next for the mock-up? Analysts believe construction in the Gachin shipyard is nearly complete, and speculate that the ship will then be shipped via rail to the Persian Gulf, which sits a few hundred yards away.

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Showing 3 of 32 comments
westword6
Mar 22, 2014 11:34 AM CDT
You know, instead of building useless crap, the Iranians could do something helpful, like sending naval and air assets to the southern Indian ocean, to help Australia look for the lost Malaysian 777 aircraft. But no, that would be acting like a responsible member of the international community, and that just would not do, would it?
Who_Cares
Mar 21, 2014 7:14 PM CDT
I think they will try to blow it up for propaganda purpose or show people that they are being attacked by us and will start another war. They don't have much to loose at this point but all to gain and their general's aren't going it to be easy tartget to "buy out" like Iraq.
Imhotep
Mar 21, 2014 3:23 PM CDT
I don't worry about the Iranians having a real honest to goodness aircraft carrier. The US Navy recently used an old Aircraft Carrier for target practice and they put it under in just a few seconds. Nothing secret. It's on the net. Their making carriers obsolete. Where to from here.