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Iranian Drone Buzzes US Navy Fighter Jet During Carrier Landing
09 August 2017, 12:25 | Damon Campbell
A U.S. Navy F A-18 Super Hornet takes off from the flight deck of the USS George Washington
An Iranian drone flew within 100 feet of a U.S. Navy F/A-18 Tuesday, forcing the jet to take evasive action as it attempted to land on the USS Nimitz in the Persian Gulf.
The officials say the encounter took place Tuesday afternoon while operating in global airspace in the central Persian Gulf.
The Navy said this was the thirteenth such "interaction between USA and Iranian maritime forces in 2017". Tuesday's incident, which occurred in global airspace, US officials said, is an unsettling development for that reason, and it marks the latest in a series of threatening encounters between the two militaries.
The F/A-18E maneuvered to avoid collision with the QOM-1 resulting in a lateral separation between the two aircraft of about 200 feet and a vertical separation of about 100 feet.
The drone eventually moved away from the scene in the Persian Gulf after the Navy made several emergency radio messages warning the operators to move it.
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The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that despite repeated radio calls to stay clear of the USA plane, the Iranian drone "executed unsafe and unprofessional altitude changes" close to the U.S. navy F/A-18E.
One unnamed defense official told Fox News that it was the first time an Iranian drone has "interrupted a flight pattern".
The Super Hornet belongs to Strike Fighter Squadron 147, which is deployed aboard the Nimitz from Naval Air Station Lemoore in California.
The US Navy described that incident as "abnormal and unsafe" and it took place the same day that Iran seized 10 American sailors whose boats had strayed into Iranian waters.
The U.S. Navy reported the warplane was preparing to land on the U.S.S. Nimitz on Tuesday when a drone came into close proximity of the jet.
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