Tehran calling

Retired Navy man Tom Wyld emails us a guide to the Navy’s close encounter with Terhan yesterday and assures us it’s “only the beginning…” Tom writes:

1. At 5 a.m. local Time Sunday morning, 5 Iranian gun boats charged 3 U.S. Navy ships transiting the Straits of Hormuz. Cruiser PORT ROYAL, destroyer
HOPPER and the frigate INGRAHAM were about to open fire when the boats
turned away. Here’s a good source on the engagement. And here’s a slow-loading but worthwhile graphic on the incident.
2. In addition to the ships’ standard fare (missiles, 5″ guns, etc.), theyhave 50-cal BMGs adapted for surface ship use and the Phalanx Close-in-Weapons-System. Originally a missile defense system, Phalanx was upgraded for use against surface targets — ideal for hostile gunboats. Here’s a video of Phalanx.
3. Hear the audio that sounds like a 2-stroke chain saw? Those are 20mm rounds being fired by the Phalanx gatling-style rotary cannon at 3000 rounds a minute.
4. Another ideal response to enterprising gun boat drivers who threaten ships in international waters is the Mark 38 Machine Gun which fires a one-inch-diameter round at about 175 rounds a minute. That’s the slower-shooting and obviously more powerful gun in the background in this video (the 50-cal is in the foreground).
5. And remember. It is only January 2008. “Etand 86” (or “Ettehad 86”), Iran’s biggest naval exercise, occurs February 2008 and will debut Iran’s first home-built diesel-electric submarine and destroyer.
Go Navy.

Consistent with Tom Wyld’s observations, Michael Goldfarb characterizes Sunday’s close encounter as “an obvious jab at our naval perimeter,” and Ralph Peters elaborates.
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