London- An Iranian drone with no lights on flew close to US aircraft operating in the Gulf, Navy spokesman Lieutenant Ian McConnaughey said Monday, in what he called an “unsafe” incident.
The Sunday night event saw an Iranian QOM-1 drone fly within 300 meters of aircraft based on the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier operating in international waters, Agence France Presse quoted McConnaughey as saying.
“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 said.
The failure to use standard, internationally mandated navigation lights at night “created a dangerous situation with the potential for collision” and was not in keeping with international maritime customs and laws, McConnaughey added.
The incident follows an August 8 encounter when an Iranian drone flew within 30 meters of an F/A-18E Super Hornet.
The US jet had to maneuver to avoid collision, with the drone passing just 100 feet away at its closest point.