Saturday, 19 August, 2017

Iranian drone forces United States jet to take evasive action

US Navy F  A-18E US Navy F A-18E Wikimedia Commons
Saul Franklin | 09 August, 2017, 00:27

The U.S. denounced a move by an Iranian drone that flew within 100 feet (30 meters) of a U.S. Navy F-18 fighter jet that was preparing to land Tuesday on an aircraft carrier in the Arabian Gulf.

The drone, which reportedly appeared unarmed, caused a US Navy F/A-18E jet to repeatedly manouver to avoid a collision as it attempted to land on the USS Nimitz, CNN reported. The F/A-18 was in a landing pattern several thousand feet off the deck of the ship waiting to land.

It's unclear whether the drone was armed or if Iranian military officials communicated with the Americans, who say they made repeated radio calls warning the drone's operator to keep away.

"The risky maneuver by the QOM-1 in the known vicinity of fixed wing flight operations ... created a collision hazard and is not in keeping with worldwide maritime customs and laws", the statement read.

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The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that despite repeated radio calls to stay clear of the United States plane, the Iranian drone "executed unsafe and unprofessional altitude changes" in the incident.

This is not the first time the US Navy has accused Iranian drones of operating unprofessionally while in close proximity to US ships. Both of those incidents were deemed unsafe and unprofessional, Navy officials said.

According to the commander, this is the 13th incident as "unsafe and unprofessional" since the beginning of the year in this sector.

It is common for close encounters between Iranian vessels and U.S. Navy ships. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps ship came at the USS Thunderbolt at high speeds.

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