Video Shows U.S. Aircraft Carrier Taking Direct Hit: Except It's From a Video Game 

Fake Picture of U.S. Navy Aircraft Carrier

Video Shows U.S. Aircraft Carrier Taking Direct Hit: Except It's From a Video Game 

Social media has circulated misleading videos and images claiming damage to the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower by Iran-backed Houthi rebels.


Summary and Key Points: Social media has circulated misleading videos and images claiming damage to the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower by Iran-backed Houthi rebels.

-These claims have been debunked, with some content traced back to video games like Arma 3.


-Despite the U.S. Navy confirming the carrier is undamaged, fake visuals continue to spread, highlighting the challenges of misinformation in the digital age.

Debunking Myths: USS Eisenhower Attack Video is Fake

You can't believe everything you see on social media, especially now that deep-fake videos are among the disinformation doled out to confuse users. 

As previously reported, images circulated (see above) on X purport to show the U.S. Navy's Nimitz-class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) at port in Crete after taking damage during a recent engagement with Iran-backed Houthi rebels in the Red Sea.

Users quickly identified the vessel not as a U.S. Navy flattop, but rather as the Russian Navy's flagship Admiral Kuznetsov, which as of this month remains in port for a refit that began in 2018.

Now a video claiming to show CVN-69 taking direct hits has also been trending on social media. User @DrMansourMansou shared the 30-second clip earlier this week. Smoke rises over the flight deck after a supposed missile or drone strike. Though the silhouette of the warship in the video resembles that of a Nimitz-class vessel, keen-eyed viewers would notice that it isn't actually USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, or any other ship of the class. The shape of the island on the flight deck is different.

It's a Video Game

The U.S. Navy has announced repeatedly that USS Dwight D. Eisenhower and other elements of her carrier strike group have not taken any damage. The only "evidence" that they did is the aforementioned debunked photo, and now the video clip.

Today, a creator no longer even needs video editing skills to create fake content. Some social media users suggested the footage was likely from a video game – it would not be the first time such content was passed off as the real deal.

Cut scenes from a video game or clips from a movie can be taken out of context to craft a narrative. Such was the case early last year, when footage from the Bohemia Interactive game Arma 3 was passed off as war videos recorded in Ukraine, and some news organizations fell for the gambit. Video games have become increasingly realistic, especially the cut scenes, and Arma 3 specifically is known for its customization and for user-generated options that allow players to add new vehicles and equipment. In fact, Russian TV aired footage from the same game a few years earlier, presenting it as combat recorded in Syria.

The problem got so great that at one point Bohemia Interactive asked fans to stop sharing footage without disclosing that it was from the game.

Yet as recently as last fall, Arma 3 clips were presented as being real Israeli war footage from the ongoing conflict in Gaza.

"The fact that it keeps happening is a reminder of how easy it is to fool people," Claire Wardle, co-director of the Information Futures Lab at Brown University, told AFP in January 2023, adding, "As video game visuals get more sophisticated, CGI (computer-generated imagery) can, at a quick glance, look real. People need to know how to verify imagery, including looking at metadata so that these mistakes don't get made, especially by newsrooms."

One problem is that social media users far too often fail to do any due diligence to confirm information is real. If a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier was struck by a missile, it would be nearly impossible to cover it up. Further, Houthis and other like groups don't necessarily care much about the truth.

There is the old saying, "A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes." Disinformation spreads quickly, and unfortunately distrust of the media remains so high today that many people will back any story that fits their own narrative and beliefs. For those reasons, even an obviously fake video and photos will find believers faster than the story can be debunked.

Author Experience and Expertise: Peter Suciu 

Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,200 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, politics, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu. You can email the author: [email protected].