Iran Is Building a Copy of a U.S. Aircraft Carrier Just to Blow it Up

Last month, U.S. military planners were scratching their heads over why the Iranians were building a painstaking replica of a Nimitz-class American aircraft carrier, all the way down to the deck numbers. Well, it turns out Iran just really wants to make it go boom.

The replica, which appears to be 2/3 scale and made of steel—just like the real thing—was first spotted under construction last summer "at a shipyard on the Persian Gulf near the Strait of Hormuz," according to Stars and Stripes, but it wasn't until this spring that U.S. officials "saw the number 68 painted on it—the same number of the USS Nimitz, which was deployed in the region last summer."

Iranian state TV had initially said the large, costly mock-up was for a movie. But now a newspaper in Iran reports that it's for blowin' up in a war game:

The Sunday report by independent Haft-e Sobh daily quotes Adm. Ali Fadavi, navy chief of the powerful Revolutionary Guards as saying Iranian forces should "target the carrier in the trainings, after it is completed."

Adm. Fadavi said: "We should learn about weaknesses and strengths of our enemy."

What they'll actually learn from blasting a dolled-up hunk of metal, who knows. But one thing's certain: If we've taught the Iranians how to piss billions of dollars away building useless military hardware to prove a point about the size of their nation's dong, then in some sense, America has already won.

[Photo courtesy of Digital Globe, via Stars and Stripes]