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US naval jet avoids collision as Iranian drone flies within 100 feet of it

US says the Iranian drone executed “unsafe and unprofessional” altitude changes near the F/A 18.

world Updated: Aug 08, 2017 23:48 IST
Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse, Washington
This US Navy photo obtained July 29, 2017 shows Airman Fausto Bautista standing a waist catapult watch aboard the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68)on July 26, 2017 in the Gulf. Nimitz is deployed to the US 5th Fleet area of operations in support of Operation Inherent Resolve.(AFP)

An Iranian drone flew within 100 feet (30 meters) of a US Naval jet Tuesday as the American plane was trying to land on an aircraft carrier in the Gulf, the Navy said.

The encounter unfolded in international air space as the F/A-18E Super Hornet was preparing to land on the USS Nimitz, US Naval Forces Central Command spokesman Commander Bill Urban said.

He said that despite repeated radio calls to stay clear of flight operations near the Nimitz, the Iranian drone executed “unsafe and unprofessional” altitude changes near the F/A 18.

The US jet had to maneuver to avoid collision, with the drone passing just 100 feet away at its closest point.

“The dangerous maneuver by the QOM-1 in the known vicinity of fixed-wing flight operations and at coincident altitude with operating aircraft created a collision hazard and is not in keeping with international maritime customs and laws,” Urban said.

He added this was the 13th “unsafe and/or unprofessional” interaction between US and Iranian maritime forces this year.

In July, a US Navy patrol ship fired warning shots at an Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps boat in the Gulf as it closed in on the American vessel.

First Published: Aug 08, 2017 23:45 IST