Security, Middle East
What happens next?
Closer to War: U.S. Troops Aboard Amphibious Assault Ship Force Down Iranian Drone
U.S. troops aboard an amphibious assault ship on July 18, 2019 forced down an Iranian drone over the Strait of Hormuz, U.S. president Donald Trump announced.
The downing comes just a few weeks after Iranian forces downed an American drone in the same area. The mutual shoot-downs could escalate the already tense situation in the Persian Gulf region.
Trump said the unmanned aerial vehicle threatened USS Boxer.
Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman told The New York Times that Boxer was in international waters at the time of the incident. The drone “closed within a threatening range” before Boxer took action.
U.S. Marines embarked on Boxer used radio-jamming gear to bring down the drone, CNN reporter Ryan Browne tweeted.
“The drone was immediately destroyed,” Trump said.
It’s unclear what kind of drone the Marines forced down. Iran’s aviation industry produces a wide range of inexpensive UAVs, including several variants of the Mohajer drone that first entered service in the late 1980s.
Iranian forces in 2011 captured a secretive U.S. Air Force RQ-170 stealth spy drone. Tehran’s engineers reverse-engineered the batwing RQ-170 and produced crude copies of their own.
Tehran equipped the regime of Syrian president Bashar Al Assad with an array of UAVs.
Iran around a decade ago began arming some of its drone types with missiles and bombs. Iran Aviation Industries Organization in 2014 revealed a Mohajer variant that Iranian media claimed could shoot down other aircraft.