US Navy prevents Iranian attempt to capture American maritime drone in Arabian Gulf

Date:



CNN

The US Navy prevented an Iranian vessel from capturing a US naval drone in the Persian Gulf from Monday to Tuesday in what a senior US commander called a “blatant” and “unwarranted” incident.

As US forces in the region transited international waters around 11 p.m. Monday, they spotted an Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps support vessel, Shahid Baziar, towing a US-operated maritime drone, also known as an unmanned surface vessel Saildrone Explorer, US Naval Forces Central Command said in a press release.

A US Navy patrol ship, the USS Thunderbolt, was “operating nearby and responding immediately,” the Navy said. After the Iranians attached a line to the maritime drone, US forces in the area communicated directly with the Iranians to say they wanted the drone back, a US defense official said.

The US Navy patrol boat then moved closer to the maritime drone and the US 5th Fleet launched an MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter from Bahrain and positioned it over the drone, the release and a US defense official said.

After the US responded with both the coastal vessel and the Sea Hawk helicopter, the Iranian vessel disconnected the towline from the US drone and departed the area four hours later, the release said.

The US Navy then resumed operations “without incident,” the release said.

The incident comes at a critical time in Iran-US relations. Negotiations to revive the Iran nuclear deal are at a sensitive stage and US officials had expressed some optimism about the latest efforts. However, they have stressed that a rift still exists between the two sides.

Vice Admiral Brad Cooper, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, U.S. 5th Fleet and Combined Maritime Forces, called the IRGCN’s actions “blatant, unwarranted and contrary to the conduct of a professional naval force,” in a statement about the incident. .

“U.S. naval forces remain vigilant and will continue to fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows, while advancing rules-based international order throughout the region,” Cooper said in the statement.

Gene. Michael “Erik” Kurilla, commander of the US Central Command that oversees the US military presence in the Middle East, responded strongly, saying Iran’s actions were illegal.

“The professionalism and ability of the crew of the USS Thunderbolt prevented Iran from doing this illegal action,” Kurilla said in a statement. “This incident once again demonstrates Iran’s continued destabilizing, illegal and unprofessional activity in the Middle East.”

The maritime drone that the IRGCN attempted to capture is “owned by the US government and equipped with sensors, radars and cameras for navigation and data collection,” the release said. The drone “does not store any sensitive or classified information,” the release added.

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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