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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 11 December 2018

Iranian drone comes close to US carrier in Arabian Gulf for second time in a week

The drone came within 1,000 feet of the USS Nimitz without its navigation lights on

The Iranian drone came within 1,000 feet of the US aircraft carrier, the USS Nimitz. Credit: Mike Blake/ Reuters
The Iranian drone came within 1,000 feet of the US aircraft carrier, the USS Nimitz. Credit: Mike Blake/ Reuters

An Iranian drone has buzzed a US aircraft carrier in the Arabian Gulf for the second time in a week, US naval officials said.

Lieutenant Ian McConnaughey, a spokesman for the US Naval Forces Central Command said the drone passed the USS Nimitz without navigation lights on Sunday, describing the action as “an unsafe and unprofessional approach.

The drone came within 1,000 feet of the aircraft carrier and controllers for the aerial vehicle did not answer requests for communication over radio.

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Mr McConnaughey told AFP: “Despite repeated radio calls to establish communications and remain clear, the QOM-1's controlling station was unresponsive and the [drone] did not use any aircraft navigation lights while it made several passes in close proximity to Nimitz and its escort ships during active flight operations, coming within 1,000 feet of US aircraft."

He added that the incident violated “international maritime and customs laws” and could have caused a clash.

Just five days earlier, US officials reported that another Iranian drone came within 100 feet of a naval jet which was about to land on the USS Nimitz.

The jet was forced to manoeuvre to avoid a collision in international air space in the Arabian Gulf.

The encounter on Tuesday was the 13th time this year that such an incident between US and Iranian maritime forces has occurred.