Those Wacky Iranians!
It turns out that the video the Iranians put out of the test of their "home-built" sub-launched missile I discussed last month may have been not exactly what they said it was. According to a report from the LA Times (which requires registration, so I'm linking to the San Francisco Chronicle version):
U.S. military intelligence has determined that a video released by the Iranian government purporting to show a test of a new submarine missile is bogus, three Pentagon officials confirmed.The article goes on to discuss why the U.S. military doesn't want to officially announce that the video is a fake. The explanation the story provides ("The officials asked that their names not be used because the Defense Department had decided not to publicize the discovery of the bogus test. Taking on the role of superpower tattletale could exacerbate already tense relations, or potentially provoke more, real tests.") doesn't really pass the smell test to me. As much as I hate to agree (somewhat) with someone from Democratic Underground, I think it'd be more likely that we wouldn't want to publicize it because a bigger Iranian "threat" means it's easier for the Navy to get money from Congress. Not that that's a bad thing...
The Iranians released the video Aug. 27, one of a series of steps the Tehran government has taken in recent months to display its military potency in the midst of a confrontation with the United States and other Western nations over its nuclear ambitions...
...But U.S. intelligence officers analyzed the plume of smoke from the missile and determined it matched a video of an earlier Chinese test.
"It's the identical launch," a Pentagon official said. "The plume, everything, is the same."
U.S. officials have been unable to confirm whether any test took place during the Iranian exercise. They say they are certain, however, that the video of the purported test is not of an Iranian sub in the Persian Gulf.
The video itself appears to be this one. I'll have to take the experts word for it that they have a Chinese video that looks the same.
On a kind-of-related topic, submariners will get a kick out of this interview with Admiral Sajjad Kouchaki, commander of the Regular Iranian Navy, given on Iranian TV just before the recent exercises. I'll provide the statement of interest without comment:
Our tactics are completely different from the enemy's conventional tactics. This means that our submarines can easily get near the enemy. Even our enemies know full well that one of our submarines passed under one of their [vessels], without their noticing. We came close to their anchored vessels, and we even filmed their anchor chain. We followed them through a periscope at a depth of one kilometer, without their noticing. All these methods and tactics are non-classical and non-conventional, constituting unbalanced warfare.(Must... resist... urge... to comment...)