As the world focuses on the escalating rhetoric between President Trump and Kim Jong-Un of North Korea, Iranian forces seem to also be growing increasingly hostile toward American Navy operations in the Persian Gulf with the AP reporting a second "dangerous" encounter with an Iranian drone in the span of less than a week. Just last week we noted that an Iranian drone came within 100 feet of an F/A-18 operating from the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier forcing pilots to take evasive measures to avoid a collision.
Now the Associated Press is reporting that another Iranian drone shadowed the USS Nimitz overnight creating a dangerous operating environment for U.S. pilots.
An unarmed Iranian drone shadowed a U.S. aircraft carrier at night and came close enough to F-18 fighter jets to put the lives of American pilots at risk, the Navy said Tuesday, reporting the second such tense encounter within a week.
The Iranian Sadegh drone flew without any warning lights during the encounter Sunday night with the USS Nimitz, said Lt. Ian McConnaughey, a spokesman for the Bahrain-based 5th Fleet.
The drone did not respond to repeated calls over the radio and came within 1,000 feet (300 meters) of U.S. fighters, he said.
That "created a dangerous situation with the potential for collision and is not in keeping with international maritime customs and laws," McConnaughey said in a statement.
According to the AP, the drone encountered by the USS Nimitz this weekend was the 14 such "unsafe and/or unprofessional" interaction with Iranian forces so far in 2017, compared to 35 in 2016 and 23 in 2015.
According to the U.S. Navy, the latest drone encountered was not armed and Iranian forces have not yet acknowledged the operation.
The drone was unarmed, the lieutenant said, though that model can carry missiles.
Iran's military and state-run media did not immediately report the incident, which came after a similar encounter Aug. 8, in which the Navy said an Iranian drone came within 100 feet (30 meters) of an F-18 preparing to land on the Nimitz. Iranian vessels and U.S. warships have also had tense encounters in recent months.
Perhaps it's time for another 'fire and fury' press conference?