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Floating US Helicopter Base USS Puller and Iran Speedboats

U.S. Army Soldiers of Task Force Saber conducted helicopter training operations with the U.S. Navy onboard the USS Lewis B. Puller in the Persian Gulf April 15 and 16, 2020.

Watch Iran Speedboats and USS Puller

Task Force Saber utilized the USS Puller as a maritime base to practice launching rotary-wing assets, and drew a response from Iranian speedboats.

The vessels repeatedly crossed the bows and sterns of the U.S. vessels at extremely close range and high speeds…

US Navy 5th Fleet

US Navy initially reported harassing and dangerous actions taken by speedboats of the Iranian Navy in the Persian Gulf earlier this month. “The vessels repeatedly crossed the bows and sterns of the U.S. vessels at extremely close range and high speeds, including multiple crossings of the Puller with a 50-yard closest point of approach and within 10 yards of Maui’s bow,” according to a statement released by the Navy’s 5th Fleet.

Apaches in the Persian Gulf

The US military is now releasing additional information, including photos and videos, about what provoked the relatively severe actions from Iran.

The USS Puller is a new floating helicopter base in operational use by the navy. Testing and certification with US Army AH-64 Apaches and other helicopters in international waters in the Persian Gulf was met with Iran’s apparent response to the new perceived threat.

Iran’s Speedboat Defense Strategy

Iran invested heavily in small speedboats to deter US Navy operations off its coasts. The US Navy is very well equipped to dispatch these relatively impotent threats, but the Iranian Navy so far is betting on restraint from US forces.

While this specific training mission did draw a response from Iran, it remains to be seen how the country will approach and defend against this new joint capability of the US Navy and US Army.