The U.S. Navy took back the unmanned surface vessel drone that Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy had taken and attempted to seize in the Arabian Gulf.
In an attempt to seize the IRGCN support ship Shahid Baziar, the U.S. 5th Fleet observed it around 11 p.m. local time on August 29.
Fortunately, the U.S. Navy patrol coast ship USS Thunderbolt was nearby and was able to assist with a U.S. 5th Fleet MH-60S Sea Hawk from Bahrain’s Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 26.
“The actions taken by U.S. naval forces in response resulted in the IRGCN vessel disconnecting the towing line to the USV and departing the area approximately four hours later. The U.S. Navy resumed operations without further incident,” the Navy said in an update on the incident.
Saildrone Explorer USVs include sensors, radars and cameras for navigation and data collection. According to the Navy, this technology is commercially available and does not store sensitive or classified data.
U.S. 5th Fleet manages a network of unmanned and manned systems according to international law.
“IRGCN’s actions were flagrant, unwarranted and inconsistent with the behavior of a professional maritime force,” said Vice Adm. Brad Cooper, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, U.S. 5th Fleet and Combined Maritime Forces. “U.S. naval forces remain vigilant and will continue to fly, sail and operate anywhere international law allows while promoting rules-based international order throughout the region.”