Members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Navy attempting to steal an uncrewed US Navy drone vessel were foiled by an American patrol ship in the Arabian Gulf late Monday night.
In a video released by the Navy on Tuesday, the Cyclone-class patrol ship USS Thunderbolt can be seen closing with the drone as it was towed away by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy (IRGCN) support ship Shahid Baziar.
Although it’s not visible in the video, an MH-60S Sea Hawk from Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 26, based in Bahrain, also participated in the recovery of the Navy drone.
According to Navy officials, the drone vessel was in international waters when it was captured by the Iranian vessel. The Shahid Baziar began towing the drone out of the area, but the USS Thunderbolt was operating nearby, allowing it to quickly close with the IRGCN support ship and its ill-gotten bounty.
“While transiting international waters around 11 p.m. (local time), Aug. 29, U.S. 5th Fleet observed IRGCN support ship Shahid Baziar towing a Saildrone Explorer unmanned surface vessel (USV) in an attempt to detain it. U.S. Navy patrol coastal ship USS Thunderbolt (PC 12) was operating nearby and immediately responded,” the Navy said in a press release.
Shortly after the Thunderbolt and Mh-60S arrived, the Iranian vessel released the tow line pulling the Navy drone. They departed the area approximately four hours after the interaction, according to the Navy release.
“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.”
These drone vessels carry no classified or sensitive information onboard and leverage only commercially available cameras, sensors, and radar systems. As such, there would be very little intelligence benefit for the IRGCN in stealing the drone ship.
The Saildrone Explorer USV is operated by the U.S. Navy’s 5th fleet. It carries a suite of onboard sensors for data gathering and can operate at sea for up to 365 days, according to the manufacturer, Saildrone’s website. The drone ship measures 23 feet long, with a 15-foot sail for propulsion that also houses solar panels to power the vessel’s onboard cameras and sensors.
The vessel uses wind for propulsion but is monitored in real-time by a pilot who can provide navigational commands as necessary via satellite link. It also includes an automatic identification system (AIS) transceiver and radar reflectors to mitigate any chances of collision with other vessels, as well as four onboard video cameras for the pilot to monitor the vessel’s situation remotely.
The sensor suite onboard the Saildrone Explorer USV is primarily oriented toward the collection of climate data, from temperature and barometric pressure to water salinity. It can also carry audio and video recording devices. The Saildrone Explorer USV is a fairly new addition to the 5th Fleet. It began operating in the waters of the Arabian Gulf in January of this year.
The U.S. Navy intends to invest $4.3 billion in drone ships of varying sorts over the next five years, with long-term goals to purchase up to 150 unmanned and lightly manned vessels.
jose c. nieves says
Soy veterano, y la Cia era una elite que se respetaba, ahora con Biden lo dudo, igual que el FBI y él Dept. de Justica. Hay que votar con los Republicanos para salvar a América.
george E. Hand IV says
Is the same Iran that Biden’s sucking up to? Clearly the Biden Administration is way off in their efforts to work with Iran and due to recent actions CCP’s China.
America doesn’t need China, it’s merely Greed that’s Driving the Narrative. Unlike China, America’s capable of self reliance in all areas I.e., Industrial, Science, Space Exploration, Miliyary Might ( If Joe Biden’s stopped. His foreign policy is one of Capitulation) Agricultural. It is all for naught, if America continues its current Policies. The Biden’s Open Borders, appears to result from the Biden Family’s Partnership with the Chinese CCP. Follow the Money. Oops, can’t do that, as long as the DOJ and FBI. More and more Americans are being deprived of their Rights.
Anything to attack Biden. Even if what you said were true still not worse than selling our nuclear secrets to Prnce Bone Saw for profit. You MAGA traitors are so lost.
And Biden is about to sign a Deal with these Terror Cretins! Neville Chamberlin is on speed dial
CIA: “Note to self. Install thermite hull burning mine in Navy Drones…..just for the fun of it.”
That is if; The CIA’s still an independent intelligence Agency? Currently Americans have come to realize our Bureaucracy’s have taken on Political Partisanship Roles. More importantly; Most of ate Appointee’s are DNC Operatives, The FBI, DOJ, CIA are no longer here to protect America, their Roles since Obama’s even to Socialize America and create an Elite and Lower Class Society . Notice how all Whites are considered Racist and Radical, that is if they’re Conservative or Republicans?
Now these same institutions are in place to Destroy America as we know it.
We can’t Impeach Biden, because then we get Harris, or Pelosi. We’re screwed for the next three years. Vote GOP in 2022, SAVE AMERICA!
As you read the Iranians released the drone when the MH-60S Sea Hawk showed up. If they had not it would not have taken an F-16 or an FA-18 to show up!
Fernando Amy says
I’m no legal expert but it seems to me that a ship can’t be considered abandoned if it is being remotely piloted and monitored.
Brian Foley says
I’m curious…is a unmanned drone vessel considered an “abandoned hull” as it pertains to salvage rights. If an abandoned hull is discovered at sea it becomes the property of whomever finds it. Has Maritime Law been adapted to cover unmanned hulls ?
We’ll need to have baby sitters following every drone out there to prevent this. Kinda defeats the purpose, no?
It sure does. At some point they will get one, sort of follows our recent pattern of stupid.
I am not a fan of unmanned vessels but maybe the idea is that a destroyer or frigate can operate 2 or 3 USVs and thereby triple the footprint of its patrol area?
I still think that a crew of 1 or 2 sailors and a Petty Officer would be much more effective