Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Operation Praying Mantis
During the Iran-Iraq War in 1987 and 1988, U.S. warships escorted reflagged Kuwaiti oil tankers through the Persian Gulf to protect them from Iranian attacks, an operation dubbed Earnest Will. On 14 April 1988, one of the U.S. escort vessels, the frigate USS Samuel B. Roberts, hit an Iranian M-08 mine.
On 18 April 1988, the Americans responded with several groups of surface warships, plus airplanes from the carrier USS Enterprise. They damaged Iranian naval and intelligence facilities on two inoperable oil platforms in the Persian Gulf, and sent at least six armed speedboats to the bottom. USS Simpson was attacked by a AGM-84 Harpoon missile from the Iranian guided missile gunboat Joshan , and hit back with four missiles. Joshan was then sunk by gunfire. An Iranian frigate, Sahand , was destroyed in the operation as well. The frigate Sabalan was damaged minutes before the Americans halted their operation. Sabalan has since been repaired and significantly upgraded and is currently in service with the Iranian navy. In short Iran lost one major warship, and a smaller gunboat. Damage to the oil platforms was repaired and those are back in service as well.
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