WAR Main Persian Gulf Trouble thread


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There is also an E-11A Blkwlf skirting north of Iraq's southern border in that shot.

What drawed Nigeria into this?



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I think the AF have switched off a lot of transponders. Two flights to Istanbul nearing Baghdad have the whole corridor minus a c-17 that was pacing them.

Looks like a lot of traffic going to Ethiopa to me.


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Are Israeli Patriot batteries deployed near Eilat due to Houthi
A PAC-2 Patriot Air Defense system is reportedly “near Eilat in southern Israel amid threats of suicide drones and cruise missile attacks from Iranian-backed Houthis in Yemen.”

MARCH 21, 2021 20:22

A video circulating on social media and on Telegram showed a PAC-2 Patriot Air Defense system near Eilat according to users who posted and commented on it. “There were more batteries which I noticed later but they’re not in the video,” wrote Twitter user @Ignis-Fatum.

A separate Twitter account called ELINT news, which looks at open-source intelligence sources, claimed that the system was deployed “near Eilat in southern Israel amid threats of suicide drones and cruise missile attacks from Iranian-backed Houthis in Yemen.” The user gave the name of the system as PAC-2 GEM+ and said they had seen three launchers in the video. The IDF said, “we do not comment on reports regarding the deployment on aerial defense systems.”

The reports of the Patriot deployment were met with some skepticism by others who said the batteries have been there for months. Reports in January said that Israel had deployed Patriot batteries to the vicinity of Eilat. At the time there were reports of threats from Yemen.

Back in mid-April 2014, a Patriot missile battery was also deployed near Eilat. The report at the time from Ynet said it replaced a Hawk air defense platform that had been permanently stationed in the area. “The new Patriot battery includes an advanced radar system; it is expected to provide a strategic response to ballistic missiles, enemy warplanes, and attack UAVs. The battery’s interception program was upgraded in the last year-and-a-half to allow the Patriot to quickly intercept simultaneous targets. The new radar array deployed by the battery will provide enhanced identification capabilities for a wide-range of suspicious locations and targets in the Sinai peninsula, Jordan, and the Red Sea.” In 2018, a Patriot had been used against a drone that was flying from Syria toward Israel.

Israel has been upgrading the capabilities of its locally produced air defense systems: the Iron Dome, David’s Sling and Arrow. Last December, Israel conducted an unprecedented multi-layered integrated test with them, in which David’s Sling and Iron Dome interceptors were fired at the same threats. The David’s Sling interceptor – called Stunner – was designed by Israel to replace the MIM-23 Hawk and MIM-14 Patriot, or at least fill the same niche they do in terms of confronting medium-range threats. The US has supported all three systems and Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, which built the Iron Dome and David’s Sling, produces them in the US with Raytheon. Raytheon also makes the Patriot. According to the website Israel Defense, the interceptor of David’s Sling “suits not just the David’s Sling system by Rafael but also Raytheon’s Patriot system.” This allows for plug-and-play adaptability.

Israel announced new capabilities for the Iron Dome in February, and last week Israel’s Missile Defense Organization said that it had conducted a test in the last few months that “demonstrated outstanding capabilities against evolving threats, including successfully intercepting salvos of rockets and missiles as well as intercepting multiple UAVs simultaneously. The new configuration of the Iron Dome system will be delivered to the IAF and Navy for operational use, and will further strengthen the State of Israel’s multi-tier missile defense array.”

The Patriots have also been upgraded over the years. Back in 2012, their system received advanced cameras. However, the deployment of the Patriot batteries near Eilat to confront threats, such as from Yemen, illustrate a possible new front for Israeli defense. Speculation at Al-Monitor in January said that the Houthi threat is a “whole new ballgame” for Israel.

ON JANUARY 13, Newsweek said that Iran may have brought a new type of drone to Yemen with a range of some 2,000 km., potentially putting Israel within its reach. AP reported on March 14 that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu avoided Saudi airspace on a planned trip to Abu Dhabi due to Houthi threats. In the end he didn’t need to avoid it because he didn’t go to the UAE. In October 2019, Netanyahu said that Iran was seeking to strike at Israel from Yemen.

Iran supplies the Houthis with long range ballistic missiles that have a range of some 800 km. and also provides them drone technology from their Qasef line of kamikaze drones. Those drones have recently wreaked havoc; allegedly flown from Yemen, they attacked Saudi Arabia’s Ras Tanura energy facility and on Friday the Houthis struck an oil refinery near Riyadh with six drones.

Iran also attacked Abqaiq in Saudi Arabia in September 2019. Iran has also sent drones to Shi’ite militias in Iraq to attack Saudi Arabia. In January, an attack on a royal palace allegedly came from Iraq. An attack in May 2019 also may have originated from Iraq.

According to the US Missile Defense Agency, the Patriot Pac-2 has a range of some 100 km. Ostensibly, putting several batteries in southern Israel would provide radar coverage and interceptors to stop a drone swarm and cruise missile attack of the kind Iran carried out on Abqaiq. Video of Patriot batteries near Eilat was also posted online in January. The IDF said, “we do not comment on reports regarding the deployment on aerial defense systems.”


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Saudi-led coalition destroys Houthi missile workshops in Yemen's Sanaa

Operation neutralised 'sources of an impending attack': Coalition statement

Published: March 22, 2021 02:00 Reuters

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Cairo: The Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen said late on Sunday it had destroyed Houthi workshops for assembling ballistic missiles and drones in the capital Sanaa, Saudi state media reported.

“The operation aims to neutralise and destroy the sources of an impending attack and to protect civilians from hostile attacks,” the coalition added.


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Would Iran be prepared to attack a US military base in America?
Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps discussed attacking a US military base using an explosive-laden boat.

MARCH 21, 2021 20:12

Members of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps discussed attacking a US military base, according to the Associated Press. The Fort McNair Army base is a 10-minute drive from the White House and is located in the US capital. The National Security Agency intercepted the communications in January and they include discussions of using some kind of explosive-laden boat as was used in a 2000 attack in Yemen against the USS Cole.

“The intelligence also revealed threats to kill Gen. Joseph M. Martin and plans to infiltrate and surveil the base, according to the officials, who were not authorized to publicly discuss national security matters and spoke on condition of anonymity. The base, one of the oldest in the country, is Martin’s official residence,” the report says.

It was not clear how advanced the threat was or how high level the officers involved were or if they had the means and opportunity, skills or even ability to carry out such an attack.

However, two intelligence officials described the report to the AP. “They said Tehran’s military commanders are unsatisfied with their counterattacks so far, specifically the results of the ballistic missile attack on Ain al-Asad airbase in Iraq in the days after [Qasem] Soleimani’s killing. No US service members were killed in that strike but dozens suffered concussions.” The report came amid discussions of providing more security for the base and restrictions in the area.

Iran’s Tasnim media highlighted the report, which could indicate Iran approves of this type of attack or wants to message a threat to the US.

“According to the two intelligence officials, the US military has sought to strengthen the security of Fort McNair after the revelation of the plan,” the report notes. “The US military is working to increase the [security buffer] area of Fort McNair from 250 feet (about 76 meters) to 500 feet (more than 150 meters), but Washington officials say the move will give the public access to the Potomac River.” This would limit access to the Potomac, an important river that once gave its name to part of the Union Army forces in the US Civil War.

US military bases have been threatened in the past.

These threats usually come from jihadists inspired by al-Qaeda or ISIS. In 2009, there was a shooting at Fort Hood and a plot to attack Fort Dix in 2007. In 2019, there was a terrorist attack at Naval Air Station Pensacola that was inspired by al-Qaeda. Iran has been accused of hosting senior al-Qaeda leaders in the past.

In November 2020, The New York Times reported that Israel, acting at the behest of the US, coordinated the killing of al-Qaeda’s number two, Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah al-Masri, in Tehran. He was a mastermind behind attacks on US embassies in the 1990s.

It’s not clear if Iran may have learned from al-Qaeda about the use of USS Cole-style attacks and the attack on US bases by jihadists in the US and whether the IRGC was inspired by these acts to plan a brazen attack on Fort McNair. Iran usually uses proxies in places like Iraq to attack US bases and doesn’t usually want to use actual Iranians to carry out its plots because it wants to pretend the attacks are local.

Iran has vowed revenge for the US killing of IRGC Quds Force head Qasem Soleimani. Iran labeled US Central Command a “terrorist” organization after the US labeled the IRGC “terrorists” in April 2019.

Any link to Iran in an attack on a US base would likely lead to a major US response. Iran would likely be reticent to carry out such an attack. It might conceivably use proxies or provide means to others to do such an attack.


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Home» News»Mysterious Ship In Iranian Shipyard Is Likely IRGC’s New Flagship

IRGC-N Catamaran Warship
Click to Enlarge. This satellite image from Planet Labs Inc. shows the unidentified vessel at the Shahid Mahallati Shipyard, Bushehr, Iran. Note that the rear half of the ship is in the shed.

Mysterious Ship In Iranian Shipyard Is Likely IRGC’s New Flagship
We believe that Iran's IRGC (Islamic Revolutionary Guard) will unveil a new ship soon. The 64m (210 ft) long catamaran is believed to be a low-observable missile corvette. It is much larger and heavier armed than the IRIS Shahid Nazeri, a related ship already in IRGC service.
H I Sutton 23 Mar 2021

The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ (IRGC) ship IRIS Shahid Nazeri is unique across navies. It’s distinctive lines, being a large catamaran with an unusual superstructure, mark it out as one of the most recognizable warships afloat. New intelligence suggests that it is soon to be joined by another. And this one will be bigger, and much better armed. The new design could be described as a low-observable (‘stealth’) missile corvette.

Nothing has been revealed officially about the new ship. Thanks to high-resolution commercial satellite imagery we have been able to keep an eye on it however.

The new vessel is being built at the Shahid Mahallati Shipyard in Bushehr, Iran. This is the same yard that built the IRIS Shahid Nazeri, which fits as the two vessels have some similarities. both are large catamarans with narrow widely-spaced hulls. The superstructure sits above the two, mounted on several tall legs, almost like a pond skater. This ungainly appearance may all the same allow a shallow draft yet high superstructure and decent stability. It also conveys relatively high speeds, reportedly 28 knots for the IRIS Shahid Nazeri.

The widely spaced hulls also allows small boats to be driven under the ship, which may be useful in some tactical scenarios. One possibility is that the ships can act as command ships for Iran’s swarms of small boats. The relatively spacious interior, high vantage point and helipad all match this interpretation. However it is also equipped with missile bins for anti-ship missiles.
Video still of IRIS Shahid Nazeri when she was being built at the Shahid Mahallati Shipyard in Bushehr, Iran. The new ship is likely to retain some family resemblance. It is larger however and has a longer superstructure. The ship is seen here in front of the same sheds where the new ship is shown in the above satellite image.
We can infer from the family connection to IRIS Shahid Nazeri that the new ship is also constructed from aluminum. It is significantly larger however, not just in overall dimensions but in volume. The superstructure extends much further aft than on the earlier boat. Although currently unconfirmed, we expect it to feature a helipad.

Gun armament is likely to be similar again with only cannons for self-defense. IRIS Shahid Nazeri has a Gatling gun (possibly a locally produced copy of a minigun) up front and two ubiquitous Dshk 12.7mm heavy machine guns. There does not appear to be space for a larger cannon on the new ship either.

Missile bins are being built behind the bridge, angled to fire outwards. These are likely for anti-ship cruise missiles. The new ship would be in some respects analogous to the Chinese Type-022 and Taiwanese Tuo Chiang class fast attack craft.

There is insufficient information at this stage to say which class this will be in the IRGC line up. It may relate to a project called the Shahid Soleimani class. This is named after the Major General Qasem Soleimani who died in a US drone strike in Iraq on January 3 2020. Another possibility is that it will be the Shahid Abu Mahdi class.

So we are waiting for the new ship to be revealed to the public. Perhaps then we will get additional information and can start to fit it in to the IRGC’s ever-expanding naval line up. A second hull, likely of the same design, has been observed at another small shipyard further down the coast near Bandar Abbas. This suggests that whatever it is, we may be see serial production.



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I don't get it. It looks like they might be harvesting the heart of a palm. You can get them canned here in the US. Sound effects are definitely creepy.


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Emerging Markets
March 25, 20214:01 PMUpdated 2 hours ago
Saudi-led coalition intercepts and destroys several Houthi drones launched at kingdom
By Reuters Staff
2 Min Read

(Reuters) - The Saudi-led coalition battling Houthi forces in Yemen said on Thursday it had intercepted and destroyed several explosive-laden drones aimed at Saudi Arabia, state TV reported.

The coalition said the Iran-aligned Houthis attempted to target universities in both Najran and Jazan, Saudi cities near the Yemeni border. The coalition said it had destroyed the one targeting Najran, as well as six additional explosive-laden drones fired by the Houthis aimed at the kingdom.

Saudi Arabia’s energy ministry said one of the projectiles struck a petroleum products distribution station in Jazan that resulted in a fire in one of the tanks, state news agency SPA reported. There were no casualties, the ministry said.

The drone attacks took place days after Riyadh presented a new peace initiative that includes a nationwide ceasefire.

The Houthis have recently stepped up drone and missile attacks on Saudi Arabia, including on oil facilities, and a ground offensive to seize Yemen’s gas-rich Marib region. The coalition has responded with air strikes on Houthi military sites.

Yemen has been mired in war since the Saudi-led coalition intervened in March 2015 after the Houthis ousted the internationally recognised government from power in the capital Sanaa.

The conflict is widely seen in the region as a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran. The Houthis, who now control most of northern Yemen, deny being puppets of Tehran and say they are fighting a corrupt system and foreign aggression.



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Israeli-Owned Ship Attacked Again; Iran Suspected

March 25, 2021
Israel Radar

Israeli freighter sailing under foreign flag reportedly hit by missile; no injuries in attack, defense officials suspect Iranian connection.

Israeli-owned ship attacked again (Archive: Pixabay)

An Israeli-owned ship was hit by a missile in the Arabian Sea and sustained light damage, according to several sources. Defense officials suspect that the latest attack is part of a new Iranian campaign to target Israeli vessels.

The freighter, LORI, was attacked while sailing from Tanzania to India under a foreign flag, N12 News reported. Ship tracking websites indicate that the vessel carried out unusual maneuvers off the coast of Oman overnight, the Israel Defense website said.

There were no injuries in the attack and the ship continued its journey as planned, the reports say. The damage to the vessel will be fully assessed when it docks in India, N12 said.

Defense officials and the freighter’s owners were informed of the incident, the report said. The vessel is reportedly owned by the Haifa-based XT Management. The company declined to respond to questions by Israel Defense.

Israeli retaliation expected

The attack on the ship follows an explosion abroad another Israeli-owned ship at the end of February. Israel blamed Iran for the incident and said that the blast was caused by sea mines attached to the vessel.

Officials warned after the previous attack that Israel will retaliate for it. Several journalists reported that a subsequent strike on Iranian targets in Syria was linked to the bombing of the ship. However, the IDF did not issue any official statements to that effect.

Israel is now expected to respond with more force, as the country largely relies on maritime shipping and is unlikely to accept an ongoing campaign against Israeli vessels.

Israeli-Owned Ship Attacked Again; Iran Suspected (israelradar.com)


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ran’s New Missile Corvette Could Reshape IRGC Naval Doctrine
By: H I Sutton
March 29, 2021 5:21 PM

An aritsits rendering of a Shahid Soleimani-class missile corvette. HI Sutton image used with permission

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy (IRGC-N) is building a new class of warships, as first reported in Naval News last week based on satellite imagery. The catamaran design appears relatively large, modern and capable compared to existing IRGC commercial-based designs.

The sectarian arm of the Iranian military’s move to more substantial warships may be part of a wider effort by the IRGC-N to gain conventional naval capabilities more in line with the regular IRIN (Islamic Republic of Iran Navy).
According to satellite imagery, at least three of the new type are under construction simultaneously. One is being built at the Shahid Mahallati Shipyard in Bushehr. Another is in a small boatyard near Bandar Abbas. A third is under construction at a new shipyard near Shib Deraz – on the island of Qushm – that may also be involved in submarine construction, according to analysts.

The vessels have been provisionally identified as the Shahid Soleimani-class, named in memory of Qasem Soleimani. Soleimani was the head of the IRGC’s Quds Force, a branch responsible for unconventional warfare and intelligence in other countries. He was killed in a U.S. drone strike on Jan. 3, 2020. He is seen as a martyr by the IRGC, hence ‘Shahid’ – the Farsi word for martyr – in the ship class name.
The Shahid Mahalas Shipyard is the same builder that is responsible for the IRGC’s existing large catamaran warship, IRIS Shahid Nazeri. The designs do appear to be related with some family resemblance but the new boats are larger. From the available satellite images, they appear to be shaped to be low-observable by radar.

In May 2020 the chief of the IRGC’s naval arm, Commodore Alireza Tangsiri, provided some information on the new types. The new vessels would be 213 feet long and have a helipad, Tangsiri said, according to local outlets. He also said they would be equipped with surface-to-surface missiles. Tangsiri also said that the Shahid Soleimani-class would have air-defense missiles.
Despite the revelation of the new ships, it’s unclear if it reflects a conscious shift in doctrine – having such a capable design will enable new tactics for the IRGC-N. Until now the IRGC has emphasized low-tech solutions and asymmetrical warfare. IRGC operate mostly a substantial fleet of tiny speed boats used for swarm tactics for coastal patrol.

IRGC crews have a history of confronting other navies. They do have some missile boats, but most are small and only armed with lightweight missiles. The IRGC has ten Houdong-class missile boats in service that were supplied by China.
The new missile corvettes could allow the IRGC to operate as more conventional force. This could be similar to other corvette-equipped navies in the region (and indeed the IRIN). Or they may use them as command ships for the flotillas of explosive boats.
These corvettes are not the only new project that shows a shift in IRGC naval capabilities. IRGC are experimenting with an extra-large uncrewed underwater vehicle (XLUUV) and have recently commissioned a second forward base ship, IRIS Shahid-Roudaki. They are also believed to be building a new type of submarine known as the Shahid Abu Mahdi Al-Mohandes class.

One possible reasoning behind the new more conventional types of platforms is that unconventional tactics have proven less effective in recent proxy conflicts. Iranian forces have widely been accused of supporting the Houthi Movement in Yemen, supplying them with arms and know-how.
Iran has helped the Houthis with uncrewed explosive boats, sea mines and limpet mines that have had some effect, even against warships, but have not changed the course of the conflict. The outcome of the conflict in Yemen may have prompted the IRGC to develop different capabilities.

The new ships could also be aimed at a domestic audience to bolster its political position at home. And whether it is intentional or not, the IRGC is looking more and more like a rival navy to the IRIN.
A recent commercial satellite image, provided by the Intel Lab, showed one of the hulls under construction near Bandar Abbas.

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