TEHRAN, Iran — Facing tough budget cutbacks, the Pentagon has outsourced the construction of a new Navy aircraft carrier to Iran.
Iran won the contract to build the Nimitz-class carrier for the U.S. Navy last summer, according to leaked documents. The outsourcing explains satellite imagery that has puzzled intelligence analysts since that time, which appeared to show the construction of an Iranian barge in the characteristic shape of a U.S. aircraft carrier.
Conceding that Iran likely does not have the capabilities to construct a full-fledged carrier with a nuclear propulsion system, intelligence officials expect that the scaled-down vessel—codenamed Target Barge—still could be used as an effective piece of propaganda after its completion in the near future.
Navy personnel cited previous episodes in which the Iranian government broadcast footage of dressed-up barges being destroyed during military training exercises.
Admiral Charles Cokely briefed reporters in Washington. “Iran has made the most out of their limited military resources by exploiting the power of visual deception to strategically communicate their might.”
Said Cokely, “The United States could take a page or two from their playbook now that we’re also facing a tighter budget.”
The 2015 defense spending cap for the U.S. currently stands at $496 billion.
“Whether that means Photoshopping a missile or building a mock aircraft carrier,” the admiral continued, “the Pentagon is going to exploit any low-cost options we have at our disposal.”
Earlier this month, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned that the 2011 Budget Control Act would likely force the Navy to decommission an aircraft carrier and scrap plans to build a number of U.S. warships.
“Tough, tough choices are coming here,” Hagel briefed a House committee. “You’re going to have to help us make them. There isn’t any way around it.”
Members of the Armed Services Committee heeded Hagel’s warning and devised a plan that would contract out some work to Iran, saving billions and offering the Middle Eastern nation a sign of trust in the process as talks over Iran’s nuclear program move forward.
“The show must go on,” proclaimed Cokely, “even if production values have to go down a bit.” Cokely then offered a press screening of the 2012 movie “Battleship.”