Is the U.S. Navy vulnerable to Iran in the Gulf?This Washington Post story says that Iran has substantially increased its ability to inflict damage on American ships in the Persian Gulf in the last two years. Tehran recently tested a new anti-ship missile, which in concert with its ever-expanding swarm of mini-submarines and fast-attack boats could overwhelm larger Navy vessels in the Gulf, and especially around the key choke point at the Strait of Hormuz.The U.S. is scrambling to devise countermeasures, but if conflict comes soon, it may not be enough:
The Navy has ordered new systems for defending against small-boat “swarms,” including ship-launched unmanned aerial vehicles and special missiles and artillery rounds for use against fast-attack craft. But many of the new defenses will not be deployed for several months, said Michael Eisenstadt, a former military adviser to the Pentagon and the State Department.“We’re behind and we’re catching up,” Eisenstadt said. “But if there’s a conflict in the near term, we may not be completely ready.”
It’s enough to make you wonder what other threats around the world U.S. forces are failing to foresee. Is this a question of resources, or of vision and will? Either way, it needs to be addressed.The consensus of course is that the U.S. Navy would eventually prevail, even against Iran’s souped-up weapons systems. And the U.S. Air Force has recently readied a bunker buster bomb that could penetrate deep into Iran’s heavily fortified nuclear facilities at Fordo. Nevertheless, Iran may now believe that it has a window of relative advantage. Its navy may have more success dealing with U.S. forces now than they would have a little farther down the road. That is a destabilizing factor in an already dangerous situation.