A US Navy warship sailing in the Strait of Hormuz took down an Iranian drone Thursday after the unmanned aircraft approached to within 1,000 yards of the ship. It is unclear whether the drone was armed.
The drone was “immediately destroyed” after “ignoring multiple calls to stand down,” said President Trump during a flag presentation ceremony at the White House.
The drone was destroyed using electronic jamming.
“This is the latest of many provocative and hostile actions by Iran against vessels operating in international waters,” added Trump. “The United States reserves the right to defend our personnel, facilities, and interests and calls upon all nations to condemn Iran’s attempts to disrupt freedom of navigation and global commerce.”
Iranian officials said they had “no information about losing a drone” and IRGC Commander-in-Chief Hossein Salami warned that Iran’s defensive strategy could “become an offensive strategy” if “our enemies make any mistakes.”
One day before the incident, the IRGC unveiled a new drone that is capable of carrying “precision-guided projectiles.”
Last month, the IRGC shot down an unarmed American drone it claimed was flying in Iranian airspace. US officials said the drone was conducting routine surveillance in international airspace.
At the time, Lt. General Joseph Guastella of US Air Force Central Command described the attack as an attempt to “disrupt our ability to monitor the area following recent threats to international shipping and the free flow of commerce.”
President Trump suggested the US military was “cocked and loaded” to retaliate, but called off the attack based on casualty predictions.
On Sunday, Iran seized a Panamanian-flagged oil tanker it claims was smuggling 264,000 gallons of fuel through the Strait of Hormuz. US officials have demanded the release of the vessel and its 12 crewmen.
Update: Iran is saying “What drone? There was not drone.”