22 June 2007

Iran's Speedboat-based "Swarm" Naval Tactic

I found this interesting; the Iranians are placing their bets on the ability to "swarm" a larger vessel by deploying large quantities of small speedboats to simultaneously attack larger naval vessels.

Except for some misgivings I have about their use of anti-ship missiles (such as Exocet and others), I think this is a very flawed strategy on the Iranians' part. Torpedo boats were effective in this sort of sense 60 years ago, but nowadays with quality radar available, I can't see that these boats could get within a close enough range to pose any serious threat before being sent to the chilly depths of the sea.

If I were in the Captain's Chair at the Pentagon, this is how I would address this tactic. Develop a naval variant of the AH-64 Longbow Apache. This chopper was designed for tank hunting with the threat of a horde of T-72s pouring across the Iron Curtain into Western Europe. Why not get some use out of it now? An anti-tank helicopter would be ideally suited for "speedboat hunting", with a 30mm cannon, Hellfire guided missiles, and armor against small arms fire. Call it "The Fisherman".

The Iranians have a nice idea in theory, but I doubt it would be successful. Coordination would be too difficult, and it would probably end up being a kamikaze attack, except boats aren't fast enough to pull that off.

No comments: