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Fighting Involved Advanced Weapons

July 4, 1988

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The fighting in the Persian Gulf on Sunday involved some of the most advanced weaponry in the U.S. Navy and the Iranian armed forces. Here’s a rundown:

-The USS Vincennes, an Aegis cruiser, carries some of the latest radar and missiles in the U.S. Navy. The Vincennes has a speed in excess of 30 knots, is 563 feet long, displaces 9,600 tons fully loaded, can carry two helicopters, and is armed with Harpoon and Standard missiles, anti-submarine rockets, two 5-inch guns, and two Phalanx close-in, rapid-fire guns for use against anti- ship missiles.

-The USS Elmer Montgomery, a Knox class frigate, is 438 feet long, displaces 4,200 tons when fully loaded, and has a speed of 27 knots. It can carry one helicopter, and is armed with Sea Sparrow missiles, anti-submarine rockets, five 1-inch gun, four fixed torpedo tubes and one Phalanx system.

-The Standard missile, fired at the Iranian plane, is described by the Pentagon as ″one of the most reliable in the Navy’s inventory.″ It is designed for use against missiles, ships and aircraft. The range and speed of the 14-foot, 7-inch weapon are classified.

-The Iranian-operated, U.S.-made, F-14 Tomcat fighter that the Pentagon originally said approached U.S. forces was one of the most advanced American weapons when sold to Iran in the 1970s. Only about 10 of the scores of F-14s sold to Iran are thought to be operational. The commander of U.S. forces in the region, Marine Corps Gen. George B. Crist, told reporters last Thursday that Iran had recently received more F-14 spare parts from an undisclosed source, and had stationed some of the warplanes at Bandar Abbas, an Iranian navy base near the mouth of the Persian Gulf.

F-14 fighters in the U.S. arsenal, and those originally sold to Iran, were equipped with Phoenix missiles, a 13-foot-long weapon that can travel faster than 3,040 mph and has sophisticated tracking devices for targets up to 104 nautical miles distant. U.S. officials say they are unsure whether the Iranian F-14s are armed with Phoenix missiles.

-None of Iran’s Silkworm anti-ship missiles were reported to be involved in the fighting Sunday in the Persian Gulf, but the weapon, which carries a deadly 1,000-pound warhead, is a main concern of U.S. forces there. Crist told reporters on Thursday that the Vincennes had been stationed near the mouth of the gulf to protect shipping against Silkworms that may be stationed later this year in a concrete and earth bunker under construction at Kuhe-stak. Crist said Iran is believed to have about 20 Chinese-made Silkworms at Bandar Abbas. A permanent battery at Kuhe-stak, armed with the 57-mile-range missiles, could hit anything moving in and out of the gulf, he said. The Vincennes was under orders to protect any merchant vessel threatened by the Silkworms, he said.

-The Boghammer, the type of speedboat that the Vincennes and the Montgomery were fighting, is manufactured by Sweden as a pleasure boat. The vessel, about 43 feet long, has been modified with a heavy engine to give it great speed, and equipped with machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades and other weapons for use by Iran’s revolutionary guards in their attacks on tankers in the Persian Gulf.

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