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Iran Vs. The Super Tankers  
User currently offlinecmb56 From United States of America, joined Dec 2009, 230 posts, RR: 0
Posted (2 years 3 months 1 week 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 9735 times:

I have just started reading a book about the “Tanker War” in the Persian Gulf during the late 80’s. According to this book the damage inflicted on many of the super tankers of the day was minimal even when hit by the Exocet missile. When empty the missile hit either water ballast or inert empty compartments. When full the missile failed to light off the heavy crude oil. "Like shooting a bullet into mud."
So there was disruption of tanker traffic but the traffic did not stop.
My question is could Iran today cause enough damage to interrupt tanker traffic given the improved toughness ( double hulls etc ) and even larger size of the tankers traveling in the Persian Gulf today? What weapons could they bring to bear that potentially would disable of sink a super tanker?

50 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineSpacepope From Vatican City, joined Dec 1999, 2864 posts, RR: 1
Reply 1, posted (2 years 3 months 1 week 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 9713 times:

I doubt they would try to sink one. The mayhem they could cause by sending out several hundred speedboats to mine the shipping lanes all at once would be enough to paralyze commerce through there for weeks. It would also draw in some or all of the 5th fleet for minesweeping and protection, and these military assets would be the juicy target.

I'm not sure if the modern chinese knockoff AShMs are any better than Exocet/Silkworm (which failed to sink the USS Stark). Mines would also be used extensively, as would small craft laden with explosives (as with the USS Cole). I suppose Torpedoes could be used as well, via air (SH-3, P-3) and the Kilo-class subs. I doubt the IRIAF would use F-4s and SU-22s for dropping bombs.



The last of the famous international playboys
User currently onlinenomadd22 From United States of America, joined Feb 2008, 1761 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (2 years 3 months 1 week 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 9617 times:

The first firecracker Iran sends toward a tanker gives everybody else on the planet a license to take out any Persian military target they please. Attacking tankers would be a godsend to the folks looking for an excuse to go after certain Iranian projects and facilities.
This ain't the 70s.



Andy Goetsch
User currently offlineflyingturtle From Switzerland, joined Oct 2011, 2026 posts, RR: 12
Reply 3, posted (2 years 3 months 1 week 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 9593 times:

Let's not forget that Iran would probably win a war against the U.S., based on an experiment ten years ago... 

  

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Millennium_Challenge_2002



Keeping calm is terrorism against those who want to live in fear.
User currently offlineSpacepope From Vatican City, joined Dec 1999, 2864 posts, RR: 1
Reply 4, posted (2 years 3 months 1 week 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 9406 times:

Quoting flyingturtle (Reply 3):

Let's not forget that Iran would probably win a war against the U.S., based on an experiment ten years ago... 

We can only hope someone in the USN learned something from that exercise.



The last of the famous international playboys
User currently onlineKiwiRob From New Zealand, joined Jun 2005, 6625 posts, RR: 3
Reply 5, posted (2 years 3 months 1 week 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 9313 times:

Quoting cmb56 (Thread starter):
and even larger size of the tankers traveling in the Persian Gulf today?

if anything today's supertankers are smaller than the tankers back in the late 70's early 80's. The Batillus class and Knock Nevis (aka Jahre Viking, Seawise Giant) are long gone.

The one I would hit would be an LNG carrier, one of those would make big bang.


User currently offlinespudh From Ireland, joined Jul 2009, 300 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (2 years 3 months 1 week 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 9288 times:

Quoting flyingturtle (Reply 3):
We can only hope someone in the USN learned something from that exercise.

I wouldn't bet on it. The only hope that anyone who matters learned anything is if a junior officer who was on the receiving end of the day 1 hammering is now somewhere senior in the Tactical branch of the Navy. Otherwise all the lessons which could have been learned will have been swept under the carpet with the original result. You can't learn from something which you deny happened.


User currently offlineLMP737 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (2 years 3 months 1 week 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 9147 times:

I think the Iranians know that closing the Strait of Hormuz is a double edged sword. Their oil flows through there also.

User currently offlinerwessel From United States of America, joined Jan 2007, 2238 posts, RR: 2
Reply 8, posted (2 years 3 months 1 week 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 8968 times:
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Quoting cmb56 (Thread starter):
My question is could Iran today cause enough damage to interrupt tanker traffic given the improved toughness ( double hulls etc ) and even larger size of the tankers traveling in the Persian Gulf today? What weapons could they bring to bear that potentially would disable of sink a super tanker?

Tankers are big and hard to sink, and the average anti-ship missile has a fairly small warhead. Oddly, modern warships tend to be more vulnerable, just because they're so much smaller. During the Iran-Iraq war, a common procedure was to have the American destroyers escorting the tankers *follow* the tankers if there was a risk of mines. And just having the tankers in close proximity will make them draw missiles away from the much smaller escorts (basic radar guidance systems just track on the biggest return, and although more sophisticated seekers can look for more specific targets, if you're shooting at tankers, you’d be aiming at the big targets anyway).

But you don't have to sink tankers to cause a huge disruption. The minute a credible threat to actually shoot at them is made, every bit of insurance becomes unavailable or extremely expensive, which effectively ends most operations – most owners will not risk their expensive tankers without insurance. At that point you end up needing governments to step in to "insure" the tankers, or the owners will mostly just sit things out.


User currently offlinespudh From Ireland, joined Jul 2009, 300 posts, RR: 1
Reply 9, posted (2 years 3 months 1 week 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 8918 times:

During the Iran-Iraq war the super tankers stopped coming to Iran due to the risk of being attacked by Iraq so Iran shipped out all its oil with its own tankers to an off-load station outside Iraqi reach

User currently offlineSpacepope From Vatican City, joined Dec 1999, 2864 posts, RR: 1
Reply 10, posted (2 years 3 months 1 week 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 8766 times:

Quoting rwessel (Reply 8):
But you don't have to sink tankers to cause a huge disruption. The minute a credible threat to actually shoot at them is made, every bit of insurance becomes unavailable or extremely expensive, which effectively ends most operations – most owners will not risk their expensive tankers without insurance. At that point you end up needing governments to step in to "insure" the tankers, or the owners will mostly just sit things out.

There you go! You're absolutely right. In this case though the credibility of the threat will be made by an explosion. Iran hs been struck with an EU oil embargo today. It should be just a matter of days till things escalate.



The last of the famous international playboys
User currently onlineKiwiRob From New Zealand, joined Jun 2005, 6625 posts, RR: 3
Reply 11, posted (2 years 3 months 1 week 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 8725 times:

Quoting rwessel (Reply 8):
Tankers are big and hard to sink, and the average anti-ship missile has a fairly small warhead

That's why they would go after an LNG carrier, still big enough to block the Strait but much easier to stop.


User currently offlinerwessel From United States of America, joined Jan 2007, 2238 posts, RR: 2
Reply 12, posted (2 years 3 months 1 week 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 8697 times:
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Quoting KiwiRob (Reply 11):
That's why they would go after an LNG carrier, still big enough to block the Strait but much easier to stop.

You need more than one sunk ship to actually block the straits - just the normal traffic channel is six miles wide, normally running a two mile wide lane in each direction, with a two mile wide median.

[Edited 2012-01-05 00:45:35]

User currently offlinesprout5199 From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 1833 posts, RR: 2
Reply 13, posted (2 years 3 months 1 week 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 8566 times:

Quoting rwessel (Reply 8):
During the Iran-Iraq war, a common procedure was to have the American destroyers escorting the tankers *follow* the tankers if there was a risk of mines. And just having the tankers in close proximity will make them draw missiles away from the much smaller escorts (basic radar guidance systems just track on the biggest return, and although more sophisticated seekers can look for more specific targets, if you're shooting at tankers, you’d be aiming at the big targets anyway).

This is true. When I was there in 1987, durning Operation Earnest Will, the escorts would follow the tankers cuz of the draft of the tankers(90 feet or so). And about the missles, if a tanker is being escorted, any shot fired at them is the same as firing at the escort. So the escort would shoot down the missle and attack the ship that fired it.
We saw a lot of ship attacks by the Iranians. Most were gun attacks as the "Sea Killer" missiles were aptly named, we saw many launches that just flew right into the sea. When they did attack, they would fire on the bridge to disable the ship, not sink it.

Quoting Spacepope (Reply 1):
Mines would also be used extensively

True, but they can be cleared, just takes time. Also a mine will not sink a tanker, as a few tankers did hit mines when I was there.

Quoting Spacepope (Reply 1):
as would small craft laden with explosives (as with the USS Cole

They would never get close, the Cole was in port. When I was there in 1987(aboard the USS FLATLEY FFG-21) no boghammars or any other small boat came near us. Those that looked like they were on a CBDR(constant bearing, decreasing range) had a .50 cal burst across thier bow to warn them off. IIRC a few fishing dhows were sunk because they got too close to other ships.

Quoting Spacepope (Reply 1):
Torpedoes could be used as well, via air (SH-3, P-3) and the Kilo-class subs

The air dropped torps are just too small to really do anything, they are made for sinking subs. Sub launched one are a different story, but i dont know how much damage a torp would do to a tanker.

Quoting spudh (Reply 9):
During the Iran-Iraq war the super tankers stopped coming to Iran due to the risk of being attacked by Iraq so Iran shipped out all its oil with its own tankers to an off-load station outside Iraqi reach

I dont remeber any Iraqi ship attacks, just attacks on Iranian oil platforms. Some where I have pics of an attack on one. We were about 5 mile from it and everybody went out side and just watched. They used bombs and strafed, was cool to watch. After it was over, we offered our help to the platform, but were turned down for some reason. maybe the they didnt like the great satan saving lives.

Dan in Jupiter


User currently offlinetrigged From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 534 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (2 years 3 months 1 week 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 8379 times:

Quoting rwessel (Reply 8):
Tankers are big and hard to sink, and the average anti-ship missile has a fairly small warhead. Oddly, modern warships tend to be more vulnerable, just because they're so much smaller. During the Iran-Iraq war, a common procedure was to have the American destroyers escorting the tankers *follow* the tankers if there was a risk of mines. And just having the tankers in close proximity will make them draw missiles away from the much smaller escorts (basic radar guidance systems just track on the biggest return, and although more sophisticated seekers can look for more specific targets, if you're shooting at tankers, you’d be aiming at the big targets anyway).

The issue with tankers is not to sink them, but to set them on fire. ULCC/VLCC's set alight are a formidable challenge to put out and get around. It really doesn't take much to puncture through the double hulls and start a fire. I would be surprised if it took more than a single Exocet to do the trick. It may come down to blocking the channel with several burning ships rather than a few sunken ones. Not much you can do with a burning oil tanker other than put it out or sink it. A half dozen floating adrift on fire would really screw up that Strait.

Exocets can take out merchant ships, and have already done so. The SS Atlantic Conveyor was sunk as a result from being gutted by fire from a pair of Exocet hits during the Falklands war.

As for a LNG hit..... whoa nelly! That would royally hose things up.


User currently offlineluckyone From United States of America, joined Aug 2008, 2126 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (2 years 3 months 1 week 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 8208 times:

Quoting spudh (Reply 6):
You can't learn from something which you deny happened.

Yes you can. You just label it differently. It's like arguing with your significant other.


User currently offlineSpacepope From Vatican City, joined Dec 1999, 2864 posts, RR: 1
Reply 16, posted (2 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 8042 times:

Quoting sprout5199 (Reply 13):
True, but they can be cleared, just takes time. Also a mine will not sink a tanker, as a few tankers did hit mines when I was there.

True, but the idea of mines would be to damage a few ships, and choke the shipping lanes for a period of time till the minesweepers can do their jobs. If anything escalates, the minesweepers (ship and helicopter) would also be operating under the threat of missile attacks while they are funneled into the mined area. If your whole intention is to try and close the strait for days/weeks, this would still be effective.

Did Iran get supplied with Mavericks back before 1979?



The last of the famous international playboys
User currently offlinerfields5421 From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 7344 posts, RR: 32
Reply 17, posted (2 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 7959 times:

Quoting trigged (Reply 14):
I would be surprised if it took more than a single Exocet to do the trick. It may come down to blocking the channel with several burning ships rather than a few sunken ones.

The Exocet which damaged the USS Stark created such a fire because it had flown a short distance and the fuel from the missile started the fire.

The missile damage was relatively small compared to the fire.

That was much the same case with the HMS Sheffield and HMS Glamorgan.

The problem is that getting through the double hull of a tanker is difficult. Especially if the double hull is filled with water as often happens when attack threats are expected. Even if it gets through the double hull to the tanks - hitting a tank of crude oil has a tremendous shock absorption effect.

Exocet or other military ship-killer missiles are poorly designed for setting fire to tankers. They have a very small warhead and they fly close to the waterline.

A pop-up missile would work better - coming down onto the deck and striking the top of a tank. For the person seeking to cause the creates damage, they would want to hit the top of a partially filled tank which would have some air with high concentrations of the most flammable fumes.

Frankly, the best weapon to set a tanker on fire would be a conventional aircraft with a napalm bomb. That could start a fire that could weaken the deck and start the tanks on fire.

But they would never get more than one or maybe two on fire.

As mentioned above, they don't have to sink ships. Just the credible risk of damage will cause the insurance companies to stop the flow of oil through the straits.


User currently offlinebikerthai From United States of America, joined Apr 2010, 2004 posts, RR: 4
Reply 18, posted (2 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 7935 times:

Quoting Spacepope (Reply 16):

Did Iran get supplied with Mavericks back before 1979?

Maybe you are referring Iran-Contra which would have happened after Reagan came into office.

Quoting rfields5421 (Reply 17):
The Exocet which damaged the USS Stark created such a fire because

Does those destroyers have aluminum hull? Aluminum hulls don't fare so well in fire situation.

Quoting rfields5421 (Reply 17):
Especially if the double hull is filled with water as often happens when attack threats are expected.

Exploding ordinance inside a liquid is actually more dangerous because of the pressure wave. So if the missile explode in the empty cavity between the two hulls, then chances are the second hull will not be penetrated. Although the water would prevent any fire if the second hull is penetrated.

bikerthai



Intelligent seeks knowledge. Enlightened seeks wisdom.
User currently offlinerfields5421 From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 7344 posts, RR: 32
Reply 19, posted (2 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 7875 times:

Quoting bikerthai (Reply 18):
Does those destroyers have aluminum hull? Aluminum hulls don't fare so well in fire situation.

The ship had an aluminum superstructure, which you are correct - not good in a fire.


User currently offlinerwessel From United States of America, joined Jan 2007, 2238 posts, RR: 2
Reply 20, posted (2 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 7840 times:
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Quoting rfields5421 (Reply 17):
The problem is that getting through the double hull of a tanker is difficult. Especially if the double hull is filled with water as often happens when attack threats are expected. Even if it gets through the double hull to the tanks - hitting a tank of crude oil has a tremendous shock absorption effect.
Quoting bikerthai (Reply 18):
Exploding ordinance inside a liquid is actually more dangerous because of the pressure wave. So if the missile explode in the empty cavity between the two hulls, then chances are the second hull will not be penetrated. Although the water would prevent any fire if the second hull is penetrated.


It's a bit more complicated than that. While liquids do carry shocks better than air, they also distribute them better, thus spreading the shock across more of the tanks structure. A nasty case happens when a space in completely filled with a liquid, which can result in very high overpressures through the container - that's significantly eased by never completely filling the tank.

Conventional warships often use the fuel tanks as part of their torpedo protection system for just that reason. And then, if the overpressure does still do damage, it tends to be more a few split seems and joints, rather than big gaping holes.


User currently offlineSpacepope From Vatican City, joined Dec 1999, 2864 posts, RR: 1
Reply 21, posted (2 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 7716 times:

Quoting bikerthai (Reply 18):
Maybe you are referring Iran-Contra which would have happened after Reagan came into office.

No, nothing political there. I was curious if they were supplied prior to the revolution, which happened prior to Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush and Obama, as were most US military systems.

AGM-65 had a specific anti-ship heavyweight warhead. I was curious if these were supplied and were still in inventory so as to be taken into account in hormuz-closing scenarios like this.



The last of the famous international playboys
User currently offlinerfields5421 From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 7344 posts, RR: 32
Reply 22, posted (2 years 3 months 1 week 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 7573 times:

According to this article I found as a reference to a Wikipedia note - the AGM-65 was used by Iran against Iraq as early as June 1975.

However, it was probably the air-ground version developed for close air support by the USAF with a 125 lb warhead. The AGM-65F - the USN version with a 300 lb warhead did not start operational testing until the fall of 1981.

The AGM-65G introducted in 1988 ups the warhead weight, and the 1998 versions are the current heaviest warheads.

http://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive/view/1983/1983%20-%200230.html

If Iran has any remaining, or has been able to reverse engineer and build new ones - they are very likely the A and B models with the 125 lb warhead.


User currently offlineLMP737 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 23, posted (2 years 3 months 1 week 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 7525 times:

Quoting spudh (Reply 6):
I wouldn't bet on it. The only hope that anyone who matters learned anything is if a junior officer who was on the receiving end of the day 1 hammering is now somewhere senior in the Tactical branch of the Navy. Otherwise all the lessons which could have been learned will have been swept under the carpet with the original result. You can't learn from something which you deny happened.

I think the USN is aware of the threat small surface vessels can pose. Just look at how US navy ships are armed when operating in the region. Manually and remotely operated 25mm chain guns, Block 1B CIWS with surface attack capablity, Sea Sparrow with same along with .50 cal and various other weaponry. Then there are Seahwks mounted with Hellfires. Th navy also has minesweppers forward deployed to the gulf in case someone does decide to start droping mines in the strait.


User currently offlinespudh From Ireland, joined Jul 2009, 300 posts, RR: 1
Reply 24, posted (2 years 3 months 1 week 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 7428 times:

Apologies in advance for a thread hijack but it has a little relevance.

Any F-14 fans out there google Isfahan Airport, Esfahan, Iran on google maps and go to the North Eastern end of the runway. If you zoom in there is a series of hardened shelters up there and I counted at least 9 F-14s outside their shelters. Quite possibly put there for the benefit of satelites but there is a start cart pulled up to the one nearest the runway.

A couple of km south west there is an army airbase and you can make out the shadows of about 30 Ch-47's too.


User currently offlineBlueJuice From United States of America, joined Jun 2010, 230 posts, RR: 0
Reply 25, posted (2 years 3 months 1 week 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 7545 times:

Quoting KiwiRob (Reply 5):
The one I would hit would be an LNG carrier, one of those would make big bang.
Quoting KiwiRob (Reply 11):
That's why they would go after an LNG carrier, still big enough to block the Strait but much easier to stop.

LNG tankers are less vulnerable than alarmist news reports suggest. More well researched articles where tanker captains, shipping experts, and scientists are interviewed say a very specific chain of events and environmental conditions must be met to "blow up" a LNG tanker. The ships are pretty much large thermos bottles and the LNG not stored under pressure. A missile could at worst cause a fire but no big bang,


User currently offlinebikerthai From United States of America, joined Apr 2010, 2004 posts, RR: 4
Reply 26, posted (2 years 3 months 1 week 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 7350 times:

Any sign of trouble, they will start putting US flags on every ship going through the straight like they did durring the Iran/Iraq war. Is there fees involved when they do this?

bikerthai



Intelligent seeks knowledge. Enlightened seeks wisdom.
User currently offlinesprout5199 From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 1833 posts, RR: 2
Reply 27, posted (2 years 3 months 1 week 21 hours ago) and read 7275 times:

Quoting rfields5421 (Reply 17):
The Exocet which damaged the USS Stark created such a fire because it had flown a short distance and the fuel from the missile started the fire.

They flew about 20 miles, the first didnt explode, the second did. The biggest problem was the second destroyed the fire main at frame 100, and the ship lost a lot firefighting capabilty until they islolated the fire main. When we out chopped with them in July 87, we learned a lot, and also saw a lot. The damage was hard to believe, even seeing it with my own eyes. Another problem that arose, was that they could not flood the missile mag, due to the break. The mag started to glow and they had to put a man in there to cool down the outer walls of the mag. That right there saved the ship, cuz if the mag exploded, game over.

Quoting bikerthai (Reply 18):
Does those destroyers have aluminum hull? Aluminum hulls don't fare so well in fire situation.
Quoting rfields5421 (Reply 19):
The ship had an aluminum superstructure, which you are correct - not good in a fire.

Yes everything above the main deck was aluminum. the decision to go back to an all steel ship was made after the JFK and the Belknap collided. I remember the lessons learned from the Stark that one problem was the fire caused the water in CIC to boil, burning the ankles of the guys fighting the fire. They had to take axes to cut holes in the bulkheads to drain the water. I think the lessons learned from the Brits after the Falklands war also saved a lot of lives.

Dan in Jupiter


User currently offlineLMP737 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 28, posted (2 years 3 months 1 week 19 hours ago) and read 7179 times:

Quoting sprout5199 (Reply 27):
Yes everything above the main deck was aluminum. the decision to go back to an all steel ship was made after the JFK and the Belknap collided. I remember the lessons learned from the Stark that one problem was the fire caused the water in CIC to boil, burning the ankles of the guys fighting the fire. They had to take axes to cut holes in the bulkheads to drain the water. I think the lessons learned from the Brits after the Falklands war also saved a lot of lives

Look at all the aluminum used in both versions of the LCS. Guess the USN has forgotten those lessons.


User currently offline747400sp From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 3301 posts, RR: 2
Reply 29, posted (2 years 3 months 1 week 17 hours ago) and read 7142 times:

If Iran was to attack a supertanker, one the USN carriers near by, would launch enough F/A-18, are loaded with bombs, after Iran, to make Iran regret that decision.

User currently offlinerwessel From United States of America, joined Jan 2007, 2238 posts, RR: 2
Reply 30, posted (2 years 3 months 1 week 11 hours ago) and read 7030 times:
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Quoting 747400sp (Reply 29):
If Iran was to attack a supertanker, one the USN carriers near by, would launch enough F/A-18, are loaded with bombs, after Iran, to make Iran regret that decision.

And despite the considerable per-unit inferiority of Iran's forces, that carrier is going to be operating in very constricted waters within easy reach of a much larger number of Iranian aircraft, and a fair number of air-to-surface and surface-to-surface (both ground and sea launched) anti-ship missiles. Not to mention some 25 diesel subs. If they're willing to take significant losses, they ought not to have too much trouble saturating the defenses of a USN carrier or two.

Of course at that point things escalate hugely. Which is the real defense the carriers have in the gulf.


User currently offlineSpacepope From Vatican City, joined Dec 1999, 2864 posts, RR: 1
Reply 31, posted (2 years 3 months 1 week 10 hours ago) and read 6990 times:

Quoting rwessel (Reply 30):
Of course at that point things escalate hugely. Which is the real defense the carriers have in the gulf.


Perhaps, but if we're talking strategy, there is no reason why the carrier would be in the Gulf or heaven forbid the straits. The Stennis did well this past week, transiting the straits into the Arabian Sea, which puts it out of range of short range AShMs, and allows its air wing to operate from standoff range.

The true hurt would be put down on Iran's targets by land based assets both in the gulf and operating from CONUS and Diego Garcia.



The last of the famous international playboys
User currently offlinesilentbob From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 1962 posts, RR: 1
Reply 32, posted (2 years 3 months 1 week 3 hours ago) and read 6908 times:

Quoting 747400sp (Reply 29):
If Iran was to attack a supertanker, one the USN carriers near by, would launch enough F/A-18, are loaded with bombs, after Iran, to make Iran regret that decision.

I wouldn't count on them being permitted to do it, even if Iran launched against a US Navy vessel, let alone a tanker.


User currently offlinebikerthai From United States of America, joined Apr 2010, 2004 posts, RR: 4
Reply 33, posted (2 years 3 months 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 6845 times:

Quoting silentbob (Reply 32):
I wouldn't count on them being permitted to do it, even if Iran launched against a US Navy vessel, let alone a tanker.

True in only one aspect. The attack would not be from F/A-18's.

This is an election year, thus it will require a swift though probably measured response. My prediction would be for a limited B-2/Cruise missile attack targets at the Revolutionary Guards.

You would think even Iran is smart enough not to interfere with US election politics . . . they can never be sure what might come out as a response military or otherwise.

bikerthai



Intelligent seeks knowledge. Enlightened seeks wisdom.
User currently offlinespudsmac From United States of America, joined Feb 2008, 293 posts, RR: 0
Reply 34, posted (2 years 3 months 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 6744 times:

Quoting 747400sp (Reply 29):
If Iran was to attack a supertanker, one the USN carriers near by, would launch enough F/A-18, are loaded with bombs, after Iran, to make Iran regret that decision.

I would like to see that, but I don't think our current administration would be so quick to respond.


User currently offlinetrigged From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 534 posts, RR: 0
Reply 35, posted (2 years 3 months 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 6633 times:

Aluminum does burn/melt when on fire as seen from what happens to an M2 Bradley after it catches on fire. I have seen several which burned down to not much more than the engine pack, tracks, and gun system. I guess I didn't realize that the superstructure was aluminum on those tin cans.

I wonder what the Iranian Silkworm might do to the tankers. I know an Iranian Silkworm has hit one previously back in 1987 but it was running empty.

http://www.nytimes.com/1987/10/17/wo...aiti-waters-first-direct-raid.html


User currently offlinecmb56 From United States of America, joined Dec 2009, 230 posts, RR: 0
Reply 36, posted (2 years 3 months 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 6357 times:

I am gratified to see good opinions and thought concerning this potential situation.
After reading The Tanker War by Lee Zatarain in the last week I am concerned that nothing has been learned in the US about confronting Iran. I think they learned far more in 87-88 than we did.
Iran certainly would not be able to hold the Persian Gulf closed but the effort to force it open could be catastrophic. Likewise simply being disruptive with mines and hitting non-US vessels would be very serious. On what basis would the President order military action if the ships that were hit were not US flagged or even carrying cargo bound for a US destination. What if only EU bound cargos were hit? If we are not being attacked how do we make the case to strike "back"? In 87-88 a number of Kuwati tankers were re-flagged to US registry as a means to allow the US to escort them. Prior to that we technically could not do anything for them. Later on the Navy was allowed to go to the aid of foreign vessels if they asked for assistance.


User currently offlinerfields5421 From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 7344 posts, RR: 32
Reply 37, posted (2 years 3 months 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 6262 times:

Quoting cmb56 (Reply 36):
On what basis would the President order military action if the ships that were hit were not US flagged or even carrying cargo bound for a US destination.

The President/ the United States has wide discretion in using military forces to defend our interests. Of course the problem is convincing the people of the United States that action is necessary.

For example, much of the action against Somalia pirates is not in support of US flagged ships or cargos. Though of course it isn't the United States leaving the military action, the French shoulder most of the burden.

Quoting cmb56 (Reply 36):
What if only EU bound cargos were hit?

That might be easier to support action under the NATO umbrella, though traditionally NATO action has been confined to the Atlantic.


User currently offlinesprout5199 From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 1833 posts, RR: 2
Reply 38, posted (2 years 3 months 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 6165 times:

Quoting cmb56 (Reply 36):
In 87-88 a number of Kuwati tankers were re-flagged to US registry as a means to allow the US to escort them. Prior to that we technically could not do anything for them. Later on the Navy was allowed to go to the aid of foreign vessels if they asked for assistance.

This is true, as we witnessed a lot of attacks but couldnt do anything. Our CO even asked premission from Comideastfor to sail between the tanker and the Iranian ship but was denied. When the Eanest Will convoys ran, a lot of ships sailed with them, but werent part of the convoy itself. they knew if Iran attacked the US would take action, as a radar guided missile will go after the best return, which might not be the one you were shooting at. After the Stark was attacked and the Iran ajr was captured, the ROE were changed to give CO's a lot more leway in defending ships and firing on agressors. There was few times that we put white ones on the rail and informed the Iranians they are within 30 seconds of being fired on. White ones on the rail gets everybody's attention real quick.

Dan in Jupiter


User currently offlineStudeDave From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 462 posts, RR: 0
Reply 39, posted (2 years 3 months 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 6084 times:

Quoting sprout5199 (Reply 38):
White ones on the rail gets everybody's attention real quick.

Bummer that those rails are gone now, eh? That oughtta make things more interesting...

Then again- the escorting helos will be armed to the teeth.



StudeDave



Classic planes, Classic trains, and Studebakers~~ what else is there???
User currently offlineSLCPilot From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 572 posts, RR: 3
Reply 40, posted (2 years 3 months 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 5894 times:

Quoting sprout5199 (Reply 38):
There was few times that we put white ones on the rail

Some people know what this means, I don't. It is easy to infer it was some weapon. Air to air? Air to ground? Air to sea?

Thanks in advance!

SLCPilot



I don't like to be fueled by anger, I don't like to be fooled by lust...
User currently offlinerwessel From United States of America, joined Jan 2007, 2238 posts, RR: 2
Reply 41, posted (2 years 3 months 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 5818 times:
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Quoting SLCPilot (Reply 40):
Some people know what this means, I don't. It is easy to infer it was some weapon. Air to air? Air to ground? Air to sea?

Live rounds/missiles/whatever. Practice ones are (usually) blue.


User currently offlinespudh From Ireland, joined Jul 2009, 300 posts, RR: 1
Reply 42, posted (2 years 3 months 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 5740 times:

Quoting rwessel (Reply 12):
I dont remeber any Iraqi ship attacks, just attacks on Iranian oil platforms. Some where I have pics of an attack on one. We were about 5 mile from it and everybody went out side and just watched. They used bombs and strafed, was cool to watch. After it was over, we offered our help to the platform, but were turned down for some reason. maybe the they didnt like the great satan saving lives.

Dan in Jupiter

I just stumbled across this on wikipedia, The Seawise Giant, the largest ship ever which according to Wikipedia was sunk by the Iraqi air force during the war.


User currently offlinebikerthai From United States of America, joined Apr 2010, 2004 posts, RR: 4
Reply 43, posted (2 years 3 months 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 5698 times:

Quoting SLCPilot (Reply 40):
Some people know what this means, I don't. It is easy to infer it was some weapon. Air to air? Air to ground? Air to sea?

Also, the "Rail" they are referring to is the "arm" that the missile slides into in many of the videos. With the next generation of modular launchers, the "arms" are gone and the missiles are launched vertically, directly from their containers buried in the structure. You lose that "Make-my-day" effect.

bikerthai



Intelligent seeks knowledge. Enlightened seeks wisdom.
User currently offlinewoodreau From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 978 posts, RR: 6
Reply 44, posted (2 years 3 months 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 5534 times:

Regarding cmb56's question about on what basis can the US act if Iran "closes" the strait and attacks non-US shipping?

There is already precedent set and the US takes very seriously something called freedom of navigation. The Navy does it all the time to enforce that freedom: the Taiwan straits, transiting through the Philippine archipelago, transiting from Florida to Puerto Rico and the strait of hormuz. By international convention excepting the Taiwan straits, these waters lie inside 12 nautical miles of land of Their respective countries - the Philippines, Cuba, Iran but because the only navigable path is through the territorial waters then everyone recognizes everyone's right to transit through those territorial waters. China claims the Taiwan strait and the South china sea and the spratleys as its territorial waters but the navy goes in there and sails through them anyways to prevent china from establishing any legitimacy to those claims.

In the case of the strait of Hormuz, even after you get past the narrowest part of the strait - going into the Arabian Gulf you can either go to Dubai or you can go further to Bahrain Kuwait or Iraq. To get to Dubai it's not required to transit Iranian waters again but to get anywhere else like to Bahrain or Kuwait you have to reenter Iranian waters past Abu Musa and Kish Island to get to your destination. The Arabian gulf on the map looks like a very large piece of ocean with lots of operating room. But in reality most of the navigable parts of the gulf is on the east side of the gulf and a lot of the operating areas are constrained to the eastern part of the Arabian gulf.

Warships are permitted under international conventions to transit territorial waters but can't perform any "military" functions. So when you do transit the strait or enter Iranian waters for the purpose of transiting into and out of the gulf, you can't operate aircraft you can't cycle weapons systems but you bet all the systems are armed and ready to go in the even someone tries to do something.


Re: white birds on the rail.

Too bad they don't exist anymore. Everything's hidden below decks nowadays

A bird is a surface to air missile (standard sm-1/sm-2/sm-3).
Bulldog a surface to surface missile (harpoon/Exocet)
. Basset a surface to subsurface missile.(asroc/vla)
And a bluebird (GMTR) is a Guided Missile, Training Round that simulates all three of the above and provides to appropriate feedback to the missile launcher and combat systems computers. And it's put up on the launcher when the ship enters and exits port.

. The phrase "white bird on the rail." is more for combat to let the bridge know that combat is about to engage and if something other than the correct color (white or blue)comes out then something's wrong. The blue bird gets exercised all the time it's always popping in and out of the missile launcher especially after dark when combat turns over the surface plot to the bridge and combat goes into "war game" mode where combat is running a computer simulated surface air or subsurface scenario". So as the scenario progresses weapons get launched and the blue bird gets put on the rail pointing at the phantom targets which only exist in the world of combat. if three missiles get "launched" the blue bird cycles up and down the rail three times.

In theory a white bird can come up on the rail and get launched by mistake but all the missiles are stored in a "safe" unarmed state and aren't armed even if you put them up on the rail unless you have the launcher key. we did issue out the launcher key when running scenarios but instead of the real launcher key we used a set of plastic baby teething ring keys that you can buy at babies-r-us while I kept the real ones in my pocket.



Bonus animus sit, ab experientia. Quod salvatum fuerit de malis usu venit judicium.
User currently offlinespudh From Ireland, joined Jul 2009, 300 posts, RR: 1
Reply 45, posted (2 years 3 months 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 5438 times:

Quoting woodreau (Reply 44):

Great post Woodreau, thanks for the info.

BTW, love the signature 


User currently offlineStudeDave From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 462 posts, RR: 0
Reply 46, posted (2 years 3 months 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 5373 times:

Quoting woodreau (Reply 44):
So when you do transit the strait or enter Iranian waters for the purpose of transiting into and out of the gulf, you can't operate aircraft you can't cycle weapons systems but you bet all the systems are armed and ready to go in the event someone tries to do something.

I'll give you the weapons system part, but the aircraft part- not so much.
During the Summers of '96, 97, '98, and '05 I made that transit more times then I care to think about. Each and every time there would be at least one helo in the air watching over us. If we were with other ships, there might be more then one. If we were with a Carrier (in '05 I was on the Carrier) there would be two plus what the small ships put up. They were as armed as they could be each time.
I know this as fact- because they were my birds just about everytime!!!




StudeDave



Classic planes, Classic trains, and Studebakers~~ what else is there???
User currently offlinewoodreau From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 978 posts, RR: 6
Reply 47, posted (2 years 3 months 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 5170 times:

Yes you are correct I got my terms mixed up. Going through the strait of Hormuz is considered transit passage and under transit passage warships can transit and conduct normal operations which include operating weapon systems and aircraft and transiting submerged if it had the capability to do so.

Otherwise Transiting territorial waters is considered innocent passage and you cannot operate aircraft or weapon systems. Submarines must surface and transit on the surface. So that does not apply in the strait of Hormuz.



Bonus animus sit, ab experientia. Quod salvatum fuerit de malis usu venit judicium.
User currently offlineEagleboy From Niue, joined Dec 2009, 1740 posts, RR: 2
Reply 48, posted (2 years 3 months 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 5032 times:
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Quoting spudh (Reply 6):
You can't learn from something which you deny happened.
Quoting Spacepope (Reply 4):

We can only hope someone in the USN learned something from that exercise

Unofrtunate but this seems to be the case with the results of ME excercise.

Quoting Spacepope (Reply 1):
The mayhem they could cause by sending out several hundred speedboats to mine the shipping lanes all at once would be enough to paralyze commerce through there for weeks. It would also draw in some or all of the 5th fleet for minesweeping and protection, and these military assets would be the juicy target.
Quoting rwessel (Reply 8):
The minute a credible threat to actually shoot at them is made, every bit of insurance becomes unavailable or extremely expensive, which effectively ends most operations

A perfect move would be to prevent tankers from using the Straits without actually destroying any of them. Disruption is a better plan than destruction.

Quoting LMP737 (Reply 7):
Their oil flows through there also.

I think they have a port on their South Coast which, which is OUTSIDE the Straits.


User currently offlinerfields5421 From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 7344 posts, RR: 32
Reply 49, posted (2 years 3 months 20 hours ago) and read 4941 times:

Quoting Eagleboy (Reply 48):
I think they have a port on their South Coast which, which is OUTSIDE the Straits.

No - their pipeline infrastructure doesn't cross to the south coast. Bandar Abbas is their southern most oil/gas port. And it is not connected to the main oil infrastructure.

Also for several of their key producing fields, the pipelines never reach shore - it is all done in the Gulf itself from platforms and islands.

EDIT - after some further research - I see Iran is proposing two natural gas pipeline projects. One from the South Pars field between Qatar and Iran up through the western provinces to near Bazargan - on the very northeast time of Iran - cross Turkey, Greece to Italy. Split there with one branch to France and Spain, the other branch to Switzerland, Austria, Germany and north. This pipeline is hoped to be constructed by 2014.

The other pipeline would go east near the southern coast into Pakistan and India. The Iranian section was completed last summer. Though Pakistan is still under pressure to abandon/ not complete the project. TBD but it could be completed and providing Iran income by mid-next year (2013).

Quoting Eagleboy (Reply 48):
A perfect move would be to prevent tankers from using the Straits without actually destroying any of them. Disruption is a better plan than destruction.

I don't think destruction has ever been their 'official' plan. Disruption to create pressure from many nations upon the US to back off similar to the way the embargo by the US puts pressure on other nations disrupts commerce with Iran. That is their goal in my opinion.

(But there is an element in their Republican Guard which would be very happy turning the entire world back to the Bronze Age technology.)

[Edited 2012-01-16 07:18:21]

User currently offlinesprout5199 From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 1833 posts, RR: 2
Reply 50, posted (2 years 2 months 4 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 4788 times:

Quoting woodreau (Reply 44):
Re: white birds on the rail.

Too bad they don't exist anymore. Everything's hidden below decks nowadays

Great Post. We had the Mk 13 launcher, the one armed bandit. And when we were in the PG, ET's(i is one) stood mine watch, and when you heard the launcher move, we would call combat on the sound powered phones telling them if it was white or blue. was a bit nerve racking to be at GQ, and then see a white one pop up.

Quoting woodreau (Reply 44):
Warships are permitted under international conventions to transit territorial waters but can't perform any "military" functions. So when you do transit the strait or enter Iranian waters for the purpose of transiting into and out of the gulf, you can't operate aircraft you can't cycle weapons systems but you bet all the systems are armed and ready to go in the even someone tries to do something.

In 1987, when we transitted the straits, we would be at GQ, bird on the rail, all stations manned and ready. Sometimes the helo would be on deck, but going to flight quarters wasnt the norm, as the hotel corpin(helo ops course) was limited to the transit course, not controlled by the wind.

Dan in Jupiter


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