What if Iran launches some kind of retaliatory strike on the U.S. related to the anniversary of the targeted killing of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, prompting some kind of massive U.S. military response?
Sea-launched cruise missiles, stealth bomber strikes and perhaps long-range precision ground fires would almost be a certainty, yet how about an amphibious assault from the Strait of Hormuz in the Gulf region? How feasible would that be? What might be Washington’s prospects for success in such a massive counterattack? Any even cursory thought given to the topic might quickly and reasonably conclude that such an overwhelming ship-to-shore attack would likely be met with success, but not without challenges.
The Pentagon has recently made it clear, through a formal statement from Acting Secretary of Defense Chris Miller, that it will not back down from the possibility of launching some kind of major military response.
Surely sea mines and Iranian small boat attacks would need to be accounted for, perhaps by air strikes of coastal areas which launch or house these kinds of assets. Undersea and surface drones, many of which are armed with advanced mine-hunting technologies, would likely lead the way, perhaps in tandem with amphibious assault ship-launched F-35Bs to bring maneuverable precision attack from the air.
Sea-launched fifth-generation air support would be crucial to any successful amphibious campaign, not just to ensure air superiority but also to provide vital close-air support to advancing attack forces. F-35Bs could, for instance, fly ahead of advancing amphibious vehicles and use its sensor technology to surveil forward areas.
The stealth fighters could also launch necessary air strikes to help clear the coast for arriving armored vehicles.