An Iranian drone came within 100 feet of a US Navy warplane as it prepared to land on an aircraft carrier in the Gulf, a US official said on Tuesday.
The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the US Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet had to maneuver to avoid an Iranian QOM-1 drone, which ignored repeated radio calls.
In a statement from the US Navy Central Command in Bahrain to Al Arabiya English a spokesperson said that this was the 13th unsafe and-or unprofessional interaction between US and Iranian maritime forces in 2017.
“While operating in international airspace in the Central Arabian Gulf, an F/A-18E Super Hornet from the “Argonauts” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 147 assigned to the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) had an unsafe and unprofessional interaction with an Iranian QOM-1 unmanned aerial vehicle on August 8,” the US command said in their emailed statment.
“Despite repeated radio calls to stay clear of active fixed-wing flight operations in vicinity of USS Nimitz, the QOM-1 executed unsafe and unprofessional altitude changes in the close vicinity of an F/A-18E in a holding pattern preparing to land on the aircraft carrier,” the statement read.
“The F/A-18E maneuvered to avoid collision with the QOM-1 resulting in a lateral separation of approximately 200 feet and a vertical separation of approximately 100 feet. 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.” the statement concluded.