00:53 - Source: CNN
Iranian drone flies within feet of US aircraft

Story highlights

The QOM-1 drone came within 1,000 feet of US aircraft flying near the USS Nimitz

This is the 14th unsafe unprofessional encounter with Iran this year, according to the US Navy official

CNN  — 

On Sunday an Iranian drone flew in an “unsafe and unprofessional manner” close to a US aircraft carrier in the central Persian Gulf, according to the US Navy.

The QOM-1 drone came within 1,000 feet of US aircraft flying near the USS Nimitz. The official said the US Navy used an emergency radio frequency to attempt to call Iranian ground units.

A US defense official told CNN the US deemed the drone’s behavior unsafe because it did not have any aircraft navigation lights on.

Lt. Ian McConnaughey, a US Naval Forces Central Command spokesman confirmed the incident in a statement: “An Iranian QOM-1/Sadegh-1 conducted an unsafe and unprofessional approach of USS Nimitz. … The failure of the Iranian UAV to utilize standard, internationally-mandated navigation lights during a night time approach of a U.S. aircraft carrier engaged in flight operations created a dangerous situation with the potential for collision and is not in keeping with international maritime customs and laws.”

This is the 14th unsafe encounter with Iran this year, according to a US Navy official.

This latest incident is the second within a week that involved a drone interacting unsafely with US carrier-based aircraft.

CNN previously reported that on Tuesday, August 8, an Iranian QOM-1 came within 100 feet of a US Navy F/A-18 attempting to land on the USS Nimitz, forcing the US jet to take evasive action, according to two US defense officials with knowledge of the incident.

Pentagon spokesman US Navy Capt. Jeff Davis previously told reporters that there had been 35 incidents of such behavior by Iranian vessels and aircraft in 2016.

Last month, the USS Thunderbolt fired warning shots at an armed Iranian patrol boat in the northern end of the Persian Gulf after the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps vessel came within 150 yards of the US ship.

The latest incident involving a drone comes the day after Iran’s parliament passed a bill aimed at “countering” recently passed US sanctions on Tehran.

Iran’s military has increasingly used drones as part of its operations in the region, using them in Syria to help bolster the regime of Bashar al-Assad.