Iranian drone flies within feet of US aircraft in Arabian Gulf

ARABIAN GULF – A U.S. Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet had an “unsafe and unprofessional” encounter with an Iranian QOM-1 unmanned aerial vehicle over international waters on August 8, according to a spokesperson for U.S. Naval Forces Central Command.

The jet is from Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 147 assigned to the USS Nimitz (CVN 68).

Repeated radio calls were made to the QOM-1 to stay clear of the active fixed-wing operations in the vicinity of the USS Nimitz, but the QOM-1 continued to “execute unsafe and unprofessional altitude changes” in the close vicinity of the jet as it was in a holding pattern and preparing to land on the ship.

The jet had to maneuver to avoid collision with the QOM-1, coming just 200 feet laterally and 100 feet vertically of each other. This created a collision hazard and “is not in keeping with international maritime customs and laws,” according to the Navy.

This is the 13th unsafe or unprofessional action between U.S. and Iranian maritime forces in 2017.