For the past week, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy (IRGCN) has been playing quite the dangerous game of chicken with ships of the Bahrain-based US Fifth Fleet.
Highspeed IRGCN gunboats have been buzzing, harassing, and near-ramming a number of US Navy warships and US Coast Guard Cutters assigned to the Fifth Fleet. Namely;
- USS Lewis B. Puller (ESB 3)
- USS Paul Hamilton (DDG 60)
- USS Firebolt (PC 10)
- USS Sirocco (PC 6)
- USCGC Wrangell (WPB 1332)
- USCGC Maui (WPB 1304)
Obviously, President Trump is fairly out of patience with the Tehran government.
As he tweeted out this morning, ‘I have instructed the United States Navy to shoot down and destroy any and all Iranian gunboats if they harass our ships at sea.’
Reported by Naval Today, the US Navy issued the following press release regarding the situation in the Persian Gulf;
“The IRGCN vessels repeatedly crossed the bows and sterns of the US vessels at extremely close range and high speeds, including multiple crossings of the Puller with a 50 yard closest point of approach (CPA) and within 10 yards of Maui’s bow,” the statement reads.
The U.S. crews issued multiple warnings via bridge-to-bridge radio, five short blasts from the ships’ horns and long-range acoustic noise maker devices, but received no response from the IRGCN.
The massive USS Louis B. Puller is the first of its kind purposely-built expeditionary mobile base vessel, specifically designed as a US Marine Corps command ship for amphibious combat operations.
The Puller is actually a hybrid of an amphibious assault command ship and a helicopter carrier.
The warship is capable of deploying upwards of 300 Marines, as well as four CH-53 heavy-lift transport helicopters.
In a pinch, the Puller could deploy the Marine Corps tiltrotor MV-22B Osprey combination helicopter-fixed wing aircraft, the AV-8B II Harrier jump jet, or the short take-off and vertical-landing F-35B (STOVL) Lightning II.
I have instructed the United States Navy to shoot down and destroy any and all Iranian gunboats if they harass our ships at sea.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 22, 2020