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Old 07-20-2019, 05:58 AM
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Exclamation Here's the heavy US and UK naval firepower ready near Iran if the tanker tensions boi

Here's the heavy US and UK naval firepower ready near Iran if the tanker tensions boil over
By: Alex Lockie - Business Insider - 7-20-19
RE: https://www.businessinsider.com/us-u...eizures-2019-7

Photo link: https://amp.businessinsider.com/imag...7-1334-667.jpg

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- Iran on Friday said it seized a British-owned oil tanker and its crew amid reports it diverted a second British tanker toward Iran in a clear message to the UK and the US that it's willing to get aggressive in a feud over oil sanctions.

- The UK and US both have warships in the region that have proven their mettle in backing down Iranian threats.

- It's unclear if the US or UK will attempt a rescue mission, but with two aircraft carriers, US destroyers, and a UK frigate in the region, any escalation could lead to a massive naval conflict.

Iran on Friday said it seized a British oil tanker and its crew amid reports it diverted a second tanker toward Iran within hours of the seizure in a clear message to the UK and the US that it's willing to get aggressive in a feud over oil sanctions. But it may soon have to contend with heavy US and UK naval firepower already in the region.

The US sent its USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier and attached strike group to the region in May. This represents the world's most potent unit of naval power, with the aircraft carrier's formidable air wing, a cruiser, four destroyers, and support ships.

The USS Boxer, a smaller carrier for AV-8B Harrier jets and helicopters, is also operating nearby and said it recently downed an Iranian drone. Iran denied this and posted video of one of its drones landing to challenge the US's narrative, although it's unclear if Iran's footage proves anything.

The UK has the HMS Montrose on station, which immediately following the seizure of the tankers was broadcasting its location and sailing through the Strait of Hormuz. The UK has another two warships on the way.

Previously, the UK's Montrose got into a standoff with Iranian gunboats trying to veer an oil tanker called the "British Heritage" into Iran's waters. The Montrose aimed its 30 mm guns at the Iranian fast-attack craft swarming the tanker and warded them off.

Photo link: https://amp.businessinsider.com/imag...63-960-480.jpg
The British navy vessel HMS Montrose.

Retired US Navy Capt. Rick Hoffman told Business Insider's Ryan Pickrell that the 30 mm guns, were the "perfect weapon" against these types of ships.

But the US's aircraft carriers can do better than perfect. With helicopter gunships launched off the Boxer or Lincoln, the US could easily destroy any number of Iranian fast-attack craft.

In June, Iran shot down an expensive US surveillance drone with a surface-to-air missile. The Pentagon drew up plans for a retaliatory attack on Iran, but President Donald Trump said he canceled it upon hearing how many Iranians would die.

But now Iran is holding at least 23 sailors captive after seizing the vessel. The UK's top leaders on Friday held an emergency meeting to decide how to proceed.

Iran frequently talks about sinking US aircraft carriers, and its navy holds the operational goal of destroying the US Navy, but Sim Tack, a researcher at Stratfor, a geopolitical consulting company, told Business Insider that the US had deployed its carrier smartly.

"The US is being very smart about how it's deploying its carrier. It prefers to keep its carrier in the Arabian Sea rather than the Persian Gulf. There are more open waters there, so they're not putting themselves in the Persian Gulf where their movement is a lot more restricted."

Map Photo Link: https://amp.businessinsider.com/imag...88-960-520.jpg
Map showing marine traffic in the Strait of Hormuz on July 5.

Because of the long range of the US's carrier aircraft, the US can strike Iran from far off in the Arabian Sea without risking getting mined or submarine attacks that Iran may launch within their home waters, according to Tack.

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Personal note: So far this situation has a long fuse. But too many incidents may trigger an all our exchange which could inflame the middle east and diminish critical oil supplies to the folks who need it most.

Boats
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