The US Navy prevented an Iranian ship from capturing an American maritime drone in the Persian gulf overnight Monday into Tuesday local time in what a senior US commander called a “flagrant” and “unwarranted” incident.
While US forces in the region were transiting international waters around 11 p.m. Monday, they saw an Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy support ship, Shahid Baziar, towing a US-operated maritime drone, also known as a Saildrone Explorer unmanned surface vessel, US Naval Forces Central Command said in a news release.
A US Navy patrol coastal ship, USS Thunderbolt, was “operating nearby and immediately responded,” 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 US 5th Fleet launched an MH-60S …