Two Supercarriers Side By Side Look Awesome But It's Very Bad News

Illustration for article titled Two Supercarriers Side By Side Look Awesome But Its Very Bad News

These are the USS Abraham Lincoln and the USS John C. Stennis, two of the ten nuclear-powered Nimitz-class aircraft supercarriers in service with the United States Navy. The Lincoln just arrived to the Strait of Hormuz as tension keeps mounting up in the area.

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She has joined the USS Carl Vinson as the USS John Stennis leaves to the Pacific, according to the Pentagon. It's nice that the Navy got to show off three carriers in the same area simultaneously, though. Not that Ahmadinejad and his cronies didn't know that the US had ten of these, but it's different to see the three of them right in your backyard than just knowing about them. I'm sure that made them a little bit uncomfortable.

The Strait of Hormuz is an extremely important geographic point. Forty percent of the world's oil passes through this strait on its way out of the Persian Gulf. Whoever controls this pass, would be able to inflict great damage to the world's economy.

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According to the Washington Post, an Iranian lawmaker is now proposing to close the strait in retaliation against the oil embargo recently approved by the European Union, which has followed the United States in their sanctions against Iran's nuclear program.

The arrival of the new carrier battlegroup comes shortly after the Iranians tested new missiles capable of hitting American military bases and ships in the area. [United States Navy's Flickr]

Illustration for article titled Two Supercarriers Side By Side Look Awesome But Its Very Bad News
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Illustration for article titled Two Supercarriers Side By Side Look Awesome But Its Very Bad News
Illustration for article titled Two Supercarriers Side By Side Look Awesome But Its Very Bad News
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Illustration for article titled Two Supercarriers Side By Side Look Awesome But Its Very Bad News
Illustration for article titled Two Supercarriers Side By Side Look Awesome But Its Very Bad News
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DISCUSSION

I hear a lot of comments (only a few on Gizmodo though) about how the Iranians cannot possibly match such a show of force. Certainly the Iranians do not have the capability of projecting power across the world like America does with its aircraft carriers. However, in defending coastal waters, Iran may have a significant advantage with its mix of medium-sized and small, quick boats. Indeed, in recent naval war-games, the US navy lost significant forces against a foe that used its small, agile craft to "swarm" the larger American ships (NYT Source: [goo.gl]). I think a rough analogy, for the science fiction fans, would be the swarming tactics of the Rebel Alliance against the Death Star.*

Now, I don't claim to be a military expert, but it seems to me that America's forces here do face a significant threat from Iranian forces. The narrowness of the straits of Hormuz would probably only compound the Iranian strengths and weaken the American ones.

*This is NOT a political statement about American and Iranian relations. It is only a statement that there was asymmetric warfare in Star Wars and there might be similar asymmetric warfare in the Straits of Hormuz.