US Navy Helicopter Thwarts Iranian Attempt To Capture High Tech Sea Drone

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by Tyler Durden
Tuesday, Aug 30, 2022 - 07:20 PM

The US Navy has announced a high seas incident wherein it foiled an attempt by Iran's elite Islamic Revolutionary Guards (IRGC Navy) to capture an unmanned surface vessel as it traversed an area of the Persian Gulf.

The US military sea drone was being operated by America's 5th fleet, and upon the intervention of US Navy assets - including a helicopter which deployed in response - the Iranians let the drone go.

Cmdr. Timothy Hawkins, a 5th Fleet spokesman, in a statement identified that the drone in question is a Saildrone Explorer, which is a high tech, relatively large drone used for gathering an array of data, including mapping the ocean's floor.

According to his statement released in an AP/Washington Post report

Hawkins said the Guard vessel was towing the drone behind it as a U.S. Navy ship and helicopter approached it. Hawkins told The Associated Press the Navy called repeatedly to the Iranians, who ultimately let the drone go.

Iran did not immediately acknowledge the incident. However, it comes amid heightened tensions between Washington and Iran over Tehran’s tattered nuclear deal with world powers.

The Saildrone Explorer USV (unmanned surface vehicle) is a newly developed and deployed US-manufactured high tech data collection system which uses AI to autonomously gather oceanic and other intelligence

Saildrone USV, which uses solar power to operate some of its components. Image: US Navy

According to an industry website, "The Royal Jordanian Navy and the US Navy’s 5th Fleet established an unmanned task force for the integration of unmanned systems and artificial intelligence into its operations, in September 2021."

"The Jordanian naval base in Aqaba has been serving as a joint hub for operations of Saildrone USV in the Red Sea since December 2021," the report details.

Saildrone USV. Image: US Navy

The drone's size is significant, with a hull length of 23ft (7m), a wing height of 15ft (5m), and a draft of 6ft (2m), according to specs listed by Naval Technology.

"The Saildrone USV autonomously navigates through large areas of the oceans based on waypoint-to-waypoint navigation through wind and currents," the description indicates. "It is constantly monitored by a pilot who can command and control the USV using satellite communications."