The Navy said on Tuesday that it foiled an attempt from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy (IRGCN) to capture an unmanned drone in the Arabian Gulf.
In a statement, the U.S. 5th Fleet said it observed the Shahid Bazar, an IRGCN support ship, trying to detain a Saildrone Explorer unmanned surface vessel (USV) while transiting international waters at around 11 p.m. local time.
The Saildrone Explorer was equipped with sensors, radars and cameras for navigation and data collection, though it doesn’t store classified information, the statement noted
U.S. Navy patrol coastal ship USS Thunderbolt, which was operating nearby, “immediately responded” to the incident, the statement said.
The Fleet also launched an MH-60S Sea Hawk from Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 26, based in Bahrain.
In response to these actions, the IRGCN disconnected the towing line to the USV and departed the area four hours later. The Navy resumed operations without further incident.
Iran did not acknowledge the incident, The Associated Press noted.
Vice Adm. Brad Cooper, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, U.S. 5th Fleet and Combined Maritime Forces, called the IRCGN’s actions “flagrant, unwarranted and inconsistent with the behavior of a professional maritime force.”
“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,” Cooper added.
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