Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Pulling the tiger's tail

UPDATE & Bump: A few updates added in the last 2 days or so and a lot of interest, so I thought I would bump the post. See below for video, and keep in mind my paragraph that beings with "First.."
Or doing an
Operational Rehearsal.
Five Iranian Revolutionary Guard boats harassed and provoked three U.S. Navy ships in the Strait of Hormuz, a major oil shipping route off the Iranian coast, during the weekend, Pentagon officials said on Monday.

The captain of one of the U.S. ships was in the process of giving an order to fire but the order was not implemented as the Iranian boats then moved away, one official said.

The official said the five Iranian speedboats "pretty much swarmed" the three U.S. vessels in international waters with the Iranians threatening that one of the U.S. ships would blow up in minutes.
They know about Millennium Challenge 2002 as well.
UPDATE: LBG and MTH sent along some links to Fox and Reuters stories. This line if from the Fox story,
Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell said, "This aggressive and hostile behavior by IRG (Iranian Revolutionary Guard) is a cause for real concern.

"It is perplexing why five small Iranian boats would confront three U.S. warships operating in international waters. Such actions are dangerous and could have quickly escalated.

"We see it as further evidence that Iran is unpredictable and remains a threat."

The Iranian boats came within 200 yards of the U.S. ships — a cruiser, a frigate and a destroyer that U.S. officials said were on a routine transport mission.

The U.S. ships were forced to take defensive action to avoid striking the close-by Iranian boats and armed their weapons, but neither side fired any shots.
First, and often second reports are often wrong - and I am not second guessing any CO out there, as it is hard to make the right call. That being said, in an email exchange with MTH, I did a little play math. For those who don't spend much time on the water on anything larger than a Ranger, 200 yards is CLOSE.
200 yds is very close. If he can get 30kt closure, that is what, about 12 seconds until contact? 12 seconds on a bad day can get ugly. 2 to make the call. 2 to say "oh shi'ite!" 2 to get the command out of your mouth. 4 seconds for it to get passed to and processed by the man pulling the trigger. 2 seconds to make contact on the boat (I am being optimistic as this is all visual aiming at this point and is 50 cal.). That is, well, 12 seconds. Boom.
Your times may differ.
UPDATE: Good stuff over at Eagle1 and Galrahn's place. Over at SailorBob, transcript from VADM Cosgriff's presser and BridgeWatch reminds us all of a classic:
As it has always been:

Don't take the first hit.
Don't shoot first.
Don't fk-up.

UPDATE II, Electric Boogaloo: Video here.

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