Warships capable of carrying aircraft are used by navies around the world, but to date, the Iranian Navy isn’t one of those countries that operate a carrier. The closest that the Islamic Republic of Iran has come to building an aircraft carrier is to “simulate” an American carrier as a weapons test platform.
The “Elite” Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy (IRGC-N) had transformed an old target barge into a large-scale mock-up of that loosely resembled the U.S. Navy’s Nimitz-class aircraft carriers.
It was used in the February 2015 “Great Prophet IX” exercises and again this past summer in similar exercises. Embarrassingly for the IRGC-N the faux carrier proved difficult to sink – that is until it floundered in waters in the channels near the Iranian naval base at Bandar Abbas.
Now, Tehran could be inching closer to developing a true carrier.
The Associated Press reported this month that the IRGC-N reportedly launched a heavy warship that was capable of carrying helicopters, drones and missile launchers. From the photographs that have been released online, it appears to be a large cargo vessel rather a true warship.