Iranian drone comes within 100 feet of US Navy jet

Iranian drone comes within 100 feet of US Navy jet
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A U.S. fighter jet had to take evasive action to avoid colliding with an Iranian drone that came within 100 feet of the warplane, the Navy confirmed Tuesday.

While operating in international airspace Tuesday, the U.S. Navy F/A-18 was in a holding pattern preparing to land on the USS Nimitz in the Persian Gulf when the Iranian QOM-1 approached, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command said in a statement.

The drone ignored repeated radio calls to stay clear and got within 100 feet below the U.S. aircraft and 200 feet to the side, according to the statement.

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The statement slammed the drone's maneuvers as "unsafe and unprofessional."

"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," it added.

This was the 13th unsafe and/or unprofessional interaction between U.S. and Iranian maritime forces in 2017, the Navy said.

One unnamed Defense official also told Fox News that it was the first time an Iranian drone has “interrupted a flight pattern.”

The Nimitz aircraft carrier arrived in the Persian Gulf late last month to begin launching attacks to strike the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

On Jan. 29, the Iranian Revolution Guard Corps accused the Nimitz of firing a warning flare at Iranian vessels in an “unprofessional and provocative" manner, as well as sending a helicopter to hover near the vessels.

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The Navy has said the helicopter was on a routine patrol in international airspace and that the flare was fired after American ships saw the Guard vessels approaching at a high rate of speed and not responding to communications.

The Persian Gulf is often the site of run-ins between U.S. and Iranian aircraft and ships. Three days before the Jan. 29 incident, a U.S. Navy patrol ship fired warning shots at an Iranian ship that U.S. officials say got dangerously close.

Updated at 12:50 p.m.