Iran Begins Military Exercise “Great Prophet 5”

Iran began large scale military exercises today in the Gulf, including the Strait of Hormuz, according to Iranian television. Tehran routinely threatens to halt all traffic in the Gulf if attacked. Could they do it? Only temporarily, Joint Chiefs vice chair Marine Gen. James Cartwright told the Senate Armed Services Committee last week.

He pointed out that if they closed the straits, Iran would in essence be strangling itself as it’s so dependent on both exporting oil and importing most everything. Even if they tried, “We believe we could keep them open,” Cartwright said.

The official assessment of Iran’s military was provided by military intelligence chief Lt. Gen Ronald Burgess and can be found here. It runs through Iran’s weapons holdings; nothing too impressive there, apart for some progress on the ballistic missile front. Iran’s conventional weapons inventory is old and worn out.

Iran’s paramilitary forces, including the Revolutionary Guards Corps – Qods Force, would make for a formidable adversary, Burgess said, if defending its home turf. The Qods’ global activities are the more worrisome, including significant support to Lebanese Hezbollah and Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

Another Pentagon assessment of Iranian military power surfaced this week, the unclassified version of a congressionally mandated report. It can be found below the jump. It provides a bit more detail on weapons holdings and manpower than the official DIA report (much of the Iranian force structure is unknown; in fact the report quotes defense spending from the well known 2010 Military Balance), but, as would be expected, its essentially the same report.

DoD – Unclassified Report on Military Power of Iran

— Greg

  • Jeff M

    I wish my boat had a machine gun like that…

  • Matt Musson

    The main goal of this year’s excercise: Kill Kenney.

  • matt

    I can hear the radio traffic now

    “dirga dirga 1, do you copy, over?”

  • Billy

    Iraq and Iran fought for nearly 8 years and accomplished nothing but mass cassualties on both sides. They gained no ground. We’ve see how the U.S. wiped the Iraqi military. Iran shouldn’t be a problem should it come down to it.

  • Billy

    Plus, the innocent people in Iran hate their corrupt government.

    • Will

      Sure, the majority of educated, middle class Iranians hate their govenment. Most Iranians are poor, uneducated & uninformed. They don’t know any better. The Revolutionary Guard will continue to run Iran for the forseeable future.

  • joe

    I wonder if they play the theme to “Miami Vice” while their out scadooing around…better yet…”Baywatch!”

  • IronV

    i wish our special boat teams flew pretty flags like that…

  • Sev

    They’re onna use small, fast boats to perform fast devastating strikes against our larger ships. They can sneak below radar at night and fire antiship missiles. We need to be wary of this.

    • Matt

      I hope ur joking Sev cuz if ur not you might want to go to some of the “special” adult classes down at the community center to learn how to flip burgers. we could sink those dinky little boats with a F’ing rock or a fat man your choice

      • Don’t be ignorant. Small boat swarms, when properly armed with anti-shipping missiles, can be one of the biggest threats to capital ships out there.

        • Jon

          Concur. Small boats with advance ASCMs are a serious threat.

  • MIKE

    What are they going to do with the boats pictures? Machine gun our ships to death? What are those small rocket launcher looking things on top of the boats? They look like small unguided missiles that would be very inaccurate on a small moving boat… anyone have any idea?

  • ricky bobby

    i wonder when we are gonna fuck them up

    • bahadır

      my friend if you try to fuck them up you will get fucked up-you have bigger issues china india russia-you keep going try to fuck your friends in nato you will get fucked .don t fell to trap.

  • roland

    Those were anti aircraft/ ship guns mounted on a speed boat.

    I guess a weaponize Global Hawk with cruse missiles of different variant can outgun a Iran gunned/ missle boats or any land and sea conflict.

  • Karl

    What about the Russian Sunburn missiles the Iranians have supposedly been stockpiling? If these small boats are missile boats then Sev is correct.

    • Vstress

      The sunburn missile is a HUGE missile… it’s not possible to carry it on a small boat like those in the pictures.

      These boats are clearly for the purpose of enforcing local ports or waterways not fighting battles.

  • ray

    small boxes on top look like smoke generators

  • Alex -DC

    Iran can make everyone’s life unpleasant and their own life unbearable. It remains to be seen if they ever dare to start any trouble. I do not think they would or even plan to. All they essentially want is to be left alone. Which includes arming and encouraging Hesbollah and whoever their main puppets in Iraq and Afghanistan are at the moment. And we can’t really do anything about it.

    • roland

      Their nuclear stockpile tell us otherwise.

  • Coachtj

    Has anyone looked UNDER THE SURFACE? It is my understanding that Iran has gained from trade with China +/or Russia one or two-submarines that are of post-WWII quality. (Grant it, our anti-submarine tactics are among the best in the world, but I hope that we are looking at the possibility.)Remember what ex-pres. Bush & Chenney said? ” we have to be right 100% of the time; the terrorists only one.”

    • MadMike

      I’m sure that the noise alone from those diesel-powered “Harleys of the Sea” (probably built in Manitowoc, WI,) is providing plenty of background interference for those Squids at the listening post in Bermuda.

  • LEP

    Apparently the majority of the esteemed readership is not very well informed about a little U.S. simulation exercise called “Millenium Challenge 2001” that centered on asymmetric naval warfare in the Persian Gulf. The USMC General who commanded the “red” forces (the enemy) quit because the “blue” forces (our guys) had to “resurrect” their sank and damaged warships in order to “win.” Our naval and nav. air forces encountered the Iranians in battle in 1986-1988 while Iran was also battling Iraq. Since that time, the Iranians have been studying and working on how to perfect their asymmetric warfare STRATEGY and TACTICS. Our presence in Iraq has given them a huge training facility in that regard.

    • MadMike

      No doubt about it, Iran could do serious damage in the Straits of Hormuz. But I seriously doubt that Iran’s Arab neighbors would put up with it, let alone the rest of the World. Qatar is already ticked off because Iran is occupying one of its islands in the Gulf. Alliances would immediately shift to the West, don’t you think? Who is going to come to Iran’s aid if the s**t hits the fan? Certainly no country that ships oil through the Gulf.

      • LEP

        The Gulf Arab states will wait to see how an armed U.S.-Iran conflict will play out. Our forces “come and go” in the Gulf. These Arab states and their monarchies will continue to neighbor Iran and self-preservation is a very strong motive. Some of them – including Saudi Arabia – have large Arab Shiite minorities (co-religionists with the Iranians) within their territories. And let’s not forget the majority Iraqi Shiites.

  • LEP

    On or about July 12, 2006 an Iranian made anti-ship Kowsar SSM launched by Hizbollah land forces in the Beirut, Lebanon area severely damaged the Israeli Navy missile-guided corvette HANIT. That gives an indication in terms of Iranian asymmetric warfare tactics and capabilities. Most of the comments here sound like those of the British military “experts” who were opining that WW II Japanese aviators “could not aim straight.” The sinking of HMS PRINCE OF WALES and HMS REPULSE outside Singapore in 1942 settled that argument. We do not need similar surprises if and when our forces will need to encounter the Iranians again.

  • roland

    Mr Bush might be right about Iran but we should be caucius.

  • roland

    I guess if it comes to last resort in the event they attack and we need to defend our people andcountry, we still have the hydrogen and nitrogen deterent.

    • winsettz

      Nitrogen deterrent? And by hydrogen, you refer to thermonuclear weapons?

  • MadMike

    Iran ‘s Republican Guard (the morality police) are like volunteer firemen. If you keep giving them new toys to play with, like speedboats, they’ll work for free.

  • Phil

    If they include boats in their future military actions, SEALs and SWCCs will meet them head on.

  • LEP

    Your web site misidentifies the religious classification for Shiites and equates it with the proverbial “brown matter” placing asteriscs over this Muslim religious classification. There are Sunnis and there are Shiites and you cannot have an intelligent discussion about national security issues in the Persian Gulf if the Shiite religious affiliation gets blocked out.

    • winsettz

      I go with Shia, since it bypasses filters and doesn’t trigger the immaturity of American teenagers when it comes to dealing with the second largest sect of Islam. However, cuss filters are better than nothing.

      • Sev

        And how many American teenagers do you think go to defense Tech? And it ain’t just American teenagers, its teenagers in general.

  • Steve

    Regardless of what any of us thinks on a personal level, the worst thing we can do is underestimate our opponents (the Iraqis) and their tactics. Better to go in with at least some caution and preserve our forces to ramp up operations than to send in a strike force against a majority we were not initlally aware of – unless of course we can back them up effectively.
    The Iraqi conflict/invasion was against a force that was, I think, not as capable then as the Iranians are now so to engage in the same tactics a second time without indepth intel would be folly. Don’t kid yourself. If you don’t think the Iranians were watching every move we made against Saddam Hussein you are sadly mistaken. That being said, I do think we need to prepare ourselves for that conflict, in whatever form it may take.