The following is a news release from US Fifth Fleet Public Affairs: (I bet one of those long range acoustic projectors could be really unpleasant if someone shouted over one of them at you at close range. Maybe every cutter should have them.)
NAVAL SUPPORT ACTIVITY BAHRAIN, April 15, 2020 —
On April 15, eleven Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy (IRGCN) vessels repeatedly conducted dangerous and harassing approaches of the USS Lewis B. Puller (ESB 3), USS Paul Hamilton (DDG 60), USS Firebolt (PC 10), USS Sirocco (PC 6), USCGC Wrangell (WPB 1332) and USCGC Maui (WPB 1304) while the U.S. vessels were conducting joint integration operations with U.S. Army AH-64E Apache attack helicopters in the international waters of the North Arabian Gulf.
The IRGCN 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 (CPA) and within 10 yards of Maui’s bow.
The U.S. crews issued multiple warnings via bridge-to-bridge radio, five short blasts from the ships’ horns and long range acoustic noise maker devices, but received no response from the IRGCN.
After approximately one hour, the IRGCN vessels responded to the bridge-to-bridge radio queries, then maneuvered away from the U.S. ships and opened distance between them.
The IRGCN’s dangerous and provocative actions increased the risk of miscalculation and collision, were not in accordance with the internationally recognized Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (COLREGS) “rules of the road” or internationally recognized maritime customs, and were not in accordance with the obligation under international law to act with due regard for the safety of other vessels in the area.
The U.S. Navy, Coast Guard, Marines and Army have been conducting joint interoperability operations in the North Arabian Gulf since late March.
U.S. naval forces continue to remain vigilant and are trained to act in a professional manner, while our commanding officers retain the inherent right to act in self-defense.
A bit more, including video here. https://news.usni.org/2020/04/15/video-iranian-attack-boats-harass-u-s-navy-coast-guard-vessels-in-persian-gulf?fbclid=IwAR1iuDFm2AZ8U56lXmveNDnXS9FWpxe-l8zKKKTFUctQ6fdYqe33pldJhn4
At some point an example must be made.
I do think putting Coast Guard cutters into situations like that without something like Griffin or Hellfire smacks of negligence.
I’m not arguing the merits of various weapons systems but strongly advocating Coast Guard vessels operating there be given the means to defend themselves if necessary.
At that range, a Phalanx would work great!
The issue with Phalanx is it runs out of ammo too quickly.
But yeah, your point stands.
The Japanese CG did just that. It wasn’t so much ammo they had problems with but range; this was against North Korean ‘assets’. They went on to use mixed flotillas with some boats carrying Vulcan and some carrying 40mm Bofors.
I would say that is the problem that cutters should be working in pairs or perhaps even threes.
Report from USNI. https://news.usni.org/2020/04/22/pentagon-leaders-say-trump-tweet-on-iranian-attack-boats-was-important-warning#more-75687
The President has said, “I have instructed the United States Navy to shoot down and destroy any and all Iranian gunboats if they harass our ships at sea.”
That sounds like a directive to me, but the Navy is taking as only an affirmation of the right of self protection and a warning to the Iranians.
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Clarification of when to employ deadly force. https://www.navytimes.com/news/your-navy/2020/05/19/us-navy-issues-new-distance-guidelines-for-vessels-after-close-encounters-with-iranian-ships/
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