Interesting developments off the coast of Iran. The minsweeper robot sub deployment makes perfect sense given the amount of rhetoric about mineing the straits of Hormuz that iran has been spouting. What concerns me more is the 5 aircraft carriers we will shortly have parked off of Iran (4 enterprise / nimitz class, and the french Degaulle). That doesn't include the LHD's in the area either (I think Essex is over there, definitly Kearsarge and Makin Island, maybe Wasp too). 1 aircraft carrier parked off your coastline is a deterrent. two indicates we're really annoyed with you. 3, war is imminent. 5.... 5 is just overkill. None of the ones deployed near Iran are scheduled for rotation out, and the French usually don't send the degaulle anywhere unless its going to start blowing things up. No matching troop movements to the boarder yet, but then again we have them in Afghanistan already, and most of the insurgency action is coming from the Iranian side at the moment, so that might be the invasion force if things come down to that. Thats 120ish frontline combat aircraft. The carriers are capable of 197 strike missions per 24 hour period. That, times 5, and Iran has no infrastructure after about 4 days. Not to mention all the guided missile submarines and those converted ohio class balistic missile delivery subs rumored to be parked off the iranian coast. Bombers are in range from Oman, paratroops can be there in about 5 days, the only thing really missing that would preclude an invasion at the moment is heavy armor and regular infantry. Once we see those moving, things will get very interesting in Iran very quickly. And yes, I realize the article isn't one of the more major sources, but it was the only one I saw with sub pics and the bit about the degaulle also being sent. CNN et all also have stories about the eisenhower at least.
It is right about time though for a new conflict if one wishes to maintain being a sitting president up for re-election at the start of a new war. http://www.debka.com/article/22170/Two-more-US-carriers-dozens-of-mini-subs-rushed-to-Hormuz
Two more US carriers, dozens of mini-subs rushed to Hormuz
As Russia and NATO continued to boost their military strength in the eastern Mediterranean, debkafile's military sources report substantial US reinforcements, led by the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower aircraft carrier, are being rushed to the Persian Gulf opposite Iran, with dozens of unmanned underwater craft for destroying mines.
The USS John C. Stennis arrives in August, raising the number of American aircraft carriers in waters off Iran to four including the USS Enterprise and the USS Abraham Lincoln, with the French Charles de Gaulle due soon to make up a fifth.
The Eisenhower, which reached its new position in the first week of July, operates under the joint commands of the US Sixth (Mediterranean) and Fifth (Gulf) Fleets.
Thursday, July 12, American military officials announced that the US is also dispatching to the Persian Gulf dozens of tiny, unmanned SeaFox submersibles that can detect and destroy mines if strewn by Iran to block the strategic Strait of Hormuz, the chokepoint for transporting one-fifth of the world’s oil.
About 4 feet long, they each carry an underwater television camera, homing sonar and an explosive charge.
There are now additionally eight American minesweepers in the Persian Gulf as well as the USS Ponce, a platform for the special forces, helicopters and warships there to fight off Iranian marine units attempting to plant mines in the vital waterway.
debkafile's military sources say that Washington decided to expand its military deployment in the area after concluding, in consultation with French and British naval experts, that Iran is short of the military strength and sophisticated measure for completely sealing off the Strait of Hormuz to all sea traffic, especially oil tankers.
All the Iranians can do is plant enough underwater mines to impede traffic and slow it down.
The new, bolstered US deployment in the Persian Gulf, the Red Sea and the Mediterranean is on the ready for immediate action against any Iranian military threat. "If Iran starts spreading underwater mines in international waterways, i.e., the Strait of Hormuz, it will find American forces ready to dismantle them on the spot," said a Western military source.
In any case, said the source, a slowdown of oil traffic through Hormuz won’t have an immediate impact on the world oil market or prices. "The world has enough reserve oil in storage to supply its needs for six full months,” said the source.