The U.S. Navy has taken back one its unmanned surface vessel drones that Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy (IRGCN) had captured and tried to confiscate in the Arabian Gulf.
The U.S. 5th Fleet observed the IRGCN support ship Shahid Baziar towing a Saildrone Explorer USV around 11 p.m local time on August 29 in an attempt to seize it.
Thankfully the U.S. Navy patrol coastal ship USS Thunderbolt (PC 12) was operating nearby and was able to step in with the help of a U.S. 5th Fleet MH-60S Sea Hawk from Bahrain-based Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 26.
“The actions taken by U.S. naval forces in response resulted in the IRGCN vessel disconnecting the towing line to the USV and departing the area approximately four hours later. The U.S. Navy resumed operations without further incident,” the Navy said in an update on the incident.
A similar Saildrone Explorer USV to the one Iran attempted to confiscate is below.
The Saildrone Explorer USVs are equipped with sensors, radars and cameras for navigation and data collection. The update from the Navy said the technology is available commercially and does not store sensitive or classified information.
U.S. 5th Fleet actually operates a network of manned and unmanned systems in accordance with international law.
“IRGCN’s actions were flagrant, unwarranted and inconsistent with the behavior of a professional maritime force,” said Vice Adm. Brad Cooper, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, U.S. 5th Fleet and Combined Maritime Forces. “U.S. naval forces remain vigilant and will continue to fly, sail and operate anywhere international law allows while promoting rules-based international order throughout the region.”
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