In yesterday’s Washington Post, Joby Warrick detailed the new array of asymmetric weapons and tactics that Iran would bring to bear on the US Navy if a conflict erupts in the Persian Gulf:
Iran is rapidly gaining new capabilities to strike at U.S. warships in the Persian Gulf, amassing an arsenal of sophisticated anti-ship missiles while expanding its fleet of fast-attack boats and submarines, U.S. and Middle Eastern analysts say.
The new systems, many of them developed with foreign assistance, are giving Iran’s commanders new confidence that they could quickly damage or destroy U.S. ships if hostilities erupt, the officials say.
. . . A Middle Eastern intelligence official who helps coordinate strategy for the gulf with U.S. counterparts said some Navy ships could find themselves in a “360-degree threat environment,” simultaneously in the cross hairs of adversaries on land, in the air, at sea and even underwater.
“This is the scenario that is giving people nightmares,” said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity in discussing strategy for defending against a possible Iranian attack.
. . . Modern U.S. warships are equipped with multiple defense systems, such as the ship-based Aegis missile shield. But Iran has sought to neutralize the U.S. technological advantage by honing an ability to strike from multiple directions at once. The emerging strategy relies not only on mobile missile launchers but also on new mini-submarines, helicopters and hundreds of heavily armed small boats known as fast-attack craft.
These highly maneuverable small boats, some barely as long as a subway car, have become a cornerstone of Iran’s strategy for defending the gulf against a much larger adversary. The vessels can rapidly deploy Iran’s estimated 2,000 anti-ship mines or mass in groups to strike large warships from multiple sides at once, like a cloud of wasps attacking much larger prey.
The Navy, however, is not standing still. Raytheon has begun delivery of its advanced Air and Missile Defense Radar (AMDR) system which will help combat multiple threats to US warships. The AMDR concept is illustrated below:
a Raytheon produced video of how an AMDR supplied flotilla would respond to attack by multiple weapons platforms is also provided at the following link:
Raytheon AMDR Simulated Engagement