An Iranian warplane fired at least twice at a US spy drone 16 miles off the coast of Iran, says a Pentagon official. It was the first time an US Predator drone was shot at in international airspace over the Gulf.
An Iranian attack aircraft fired at least twice at an unarmed U.S. drone conducting routine surveillance in international airspace over the Gulf, the Pentagon said Thursday. The aircraft missed and the drone returned to base unharmed.
The shooting in the Gulf, which occurred just before 5 a.m. (0900 GMT) on Nov. 1, was unprecedented, Pentagon press secretary George Little said. The incident was not disclosed sooner because the military does not discuss classified surveillance missions, but agreed to answer questions after news reports revealed the shooting.
Little said the drone was about 16 miles (26 kilometers) off the Iranian coast when the Russian-made SU-25 Frogfoot warplane intercepted it and opened fire. He said it was the first time an unmanned U.S. aircraft was shot at in international airspace over the Gulf.
"Our aircraft was never in Iranian air space. It was always flying in international air space," Little told Pentagon reporters. "The United States has communicated to the Iranians that we will continue to conduct surveillance flights over international waters over the Arabian Gulf, consistent with longstanding practice and our commitment to the security of the region."
According to the Pentagon, the Iranian war plane made at least two passes by the slower-moving drone, firing "multiple rounds."