The escalating shows of force between the United States and Iran could soon take a theatrical turn. Satellite photos from Planet, obtained exclusively by Defense One, show that Iran has recently completed repairs on a mock aircraft carrier that it could destroy as part of an elaborate military exercise, later in the spring.
The “carrier” — a highly-detailed superstructure built on a barge — was heavily damaged in a February 2015 exercise. Last August, Planet’s satellites first captured workers moving the barge inside the breakwaters at Bandar Abbas naval base. Subsequent imagery showed that the Iranians beginning work in October, with deck and latticework nearly completed by December and January.
The barge may feature in a major exercise Iran is planning for March, according to Bryan Clark, a former special assistant to the Navy and currently a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments.