US Navy blocks Iran from capturing US maritime drone in Persian Gulf
A US Navy coastal patrol vessel, USS Thunderbolt, “operated nearby and responded 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 to recover the drone, a US defense official said.
The U.S. Navy patrol craft then closed in on the maritime drone, and the U.S. 5th Fleet launched an MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter from Bahrain and positioned it over the drone, the statement said and a U.S. official said. of the defense.
After the United States responded with the coastal vessel and the Sea Hawk helicopter, the Iranian ship disconnected the tow line from the American drone and left the area four hours later, the statement said.
The US Navy then resumed operations “without incident”, the statement added.
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 “flagrant, unwarranted and inconsistent with the behavior of a maritime force.” professional,” in a statement about the incident.
“U.S. naval forces remain vigilant and will continue to fly, sail and operate wherever international law permits, while promoting a rules-based international order throughout the region,” Cooper said in the statement.
General Michael “Erik” Kurilla, commander of US Central Command which oversees US military presence in the Middle East, reacted strongly, saying Iran’s actions were illegal.
“The professionalism and skill of the crew of the USS Thunderbolt prevented Iran from this unlawful action,” Kurilla said in a statement. “This incident further demonstrates Iran’s continued destabilizing, illegal and unprofessional activity in the Middle East.”
The maritime drone that the IRGCN attempted to take is “owned by the US government and equipped with sensors, radars and cameras for navigation and data collection,” the statement said. The drone “does not store sensitive or classified information,” the statement added.