Tags: u.s. navy | iran | drone | nuclear deal | persian gulf | irgcn

US Navy Stops Iran From Seizing Drone

the uss thunderbolt
U.S. Navy patrol coastal ship USS Thunderbolt, pictured, foiled an Iranian attempt to steal a navy drone ship. (AP)

By    |   Thursday, 01 September 2022 07:35 AM EDT

As anticipation is brewing over the impending renewal of the Iranian nuclear deal, tensions are heating up in the Persian Gulf following a showdown between the U.S. Navy and Iran.

Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy (IRGCN) attempted to steal an American drone operated by the U.S. 5th Fleet in the Persian Gulf earlier this week as the world is anticipating a return to the Iranian nuclear deal.

The U.S. Naval Forces Central Command said in a statement on Tuesday that the 5th Fleet "observed IRGCN support ship Shahid Baziar towing a Saildrone Explorer unmanned surface vessel (USV) in an attempt to detain it."

"U.S. Navy patrol coastal ship USS Thunderbolt (PC 12) was operating nearby and immediately responded. U.S. 5th Fleet also launched an MH-60S Sea Hawk from Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 26, based in Bahrain. The actions taken by U.S. naval forces in response resulted in the IRGCN vessel disconnecting the towing line to the USV and departing the area approximately four hours later. The U.S. Navy resumed operations without further incident."

Vice Admiral Brad Cooper, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, U.S. 5th Fleet and Combined Maritime Forces, said that the navy of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps navy had been "flagrant and unwarranted."

"IRGCN's actions were flagrant, unwarranted and inconsistent with the behavior of a professional maritime force," Cooper said. "U.S. naval forces remain vigilant and will continue to fly, sail and operate anywhere international law allows while promoting rules-based international order throughout the region."

The 5th Fleet began testing the Saildrone Explorer in December in the Gulf of Aqaba. The drone is loaded with sensors that help the U.S. Navy expand its view of the surroundings. According to Navy Times, the drone is 23 feet long and 16 feet tall and relies on wind power to move in addition to having a sun-powered sensor package.

"Every partner and every sensor offers new information that can be added to what we call the 'Digital Ocean,' an intelligent synthesis of around-the-clock inputs encompassing thousands of images," Cooper said at the Combined Naval Event at the Farnborough International Exhibition and Conference Centre in May. "Putting more eyes above, on and below the water's surface enhances our picture of the surrounding seas and enables us to position our crewed ships to react more rapidly."

Iran has a clear interest in stealing U.S. and other Western technology to improve its own reconnaissance drones.

Earlier this month, Iran held large-scale drone drills across the country, involving the testing of 150 unmanned aerial vehicles or UAVs.

"The accuracy and power of weapons… the capabilities of guidance and control systems and the combat capabilities of drones are among the things that will be tested and evaluated in this exercise," deputy coordinator of the armed forces Admiral Habibollah Sayyari told Iran's state broadcaster. "This is the first time that a joint drone exercise is conducted at the level of the four forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran's army and the country's joint air defense base."

"This is only a part of the drone power of … Iran's army, which is carrying out operations in various reconnaissance, surveillance, and combat missions," Admiral Sayyari said.

Iran began to develop drones in the 1980s during its eight-year war with Iraq. In October 2021, the Wall Street Journal quoted the concerns of defense officials from the United States, Israel and Europe that Iran's progress in developing, building and deploying drones was changing the security situation in the Middle East region.

"The drones themselves are often made with widely available components used in the ever-growing commercial drone market and by hobbyists," The Wall Street Journal reported. "Some mimic the designs of Israeli and American military drones."

This article originally appeared on ALL ARAB NEWS and is reposted with permission.


As anticipation is brewing over the impending renewal of the Iranian nuclear deal, tensions are heating up in the Persian Gulf following a showdown between the U.S. Navy and Iran.
u.s. navy, iran, drone, nuclear deal, persian gulf, irgcn
Thursday, 01 September 2022 07:35 AM
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