Iran is constructing a mock-up of an American nuclear-powered aircraft carried, the New York Times reports. However, officials say the vessel is non-functioning and the Iranians may be planning on blowing it up for propaganda purposes.
Intelligence analysts made the discovery last summer while studying satellite photos of Iranian military installations.
The mock-up, located near Bandar Abbas on the Persian Gulf, features the same distinctive shape and style of the U.S. Navy’s Nimitz-class carriers. It even reportedly features the Nimitz’s No. 68 and mock aircraft on the flight deck.
The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) is underway in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility in the Pacific Ocean. Ronald Reagan is en route toward Japan to render humanitarian assistance and disaster relief as directed. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Dylan McCord/Released)
Cmdr. Jason Salata, a spokesman for the Navy’s Fifth Fleet in Bahrain, said “based on our observations, this is not a functioning aircraft carrier.”
“We’re not sure what Iran hopes to gain by building this. If it is a big propaganda piece, to what end?” he added.
Other Navy officials said Iran has used barges as targets for missile firing exercises, which were filmed and then aired on state-run TV.