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US quietly prepares for naval clash with Iran in Strait of Hormuz

Iran is ramping up its production of mini-submarines, which are 'a huge problem' for US naval power. The US has countered by sending minesweepers to the region.

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Iranian submarines participate in a naval parade on the last day of a war game in the Sea of Oman near the Strait of Hormuz earlier this year.

Ebrahim Norouzi/Reuters/File

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Iran’s mini-submarines and Special Forces “frogmen” spell trouble for the US Navy

The Iranian military has a growing fleet of mini-submarines that is particularly difficult for the US Navy to detect and track. They are kitted out with torpedoes, highly-trained SEAL-like frogmen, and – most troublesome for the US military – mines that could threaten to shut down the vital Strait of Hormuz shipping lane.

In response, the commander of US forces in the region recently announced that the Navy would be doubling the number of its US minesweepers in the Gulf. The ranks of these minesweepers had remained steady for the past decade, but have risen from four to eight since June.

The ramped-up Iranian production of mini-submarines – as well as the Pentagon’s response – threatens to ratchet up military tensions in the region, analysts say.

The additional four Avenger-class minesweepers arrived in Bahrain on June 24. Along with the minesweepers, the Navy also sent additional minesweeping helicopters called “Sea Dragons.”

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