Air Platforms

USN, Iranian aircraft have 'unsafe' interaction

08 August 2017
An Iranian QOM-1 UAV approached collision distance with a USN F/A-18E aircraft preparing to land on aircraft carrier USS Nimitz in the Central Arabian Gulf on 8 August 2017. Source: US Navy

An Iranian QOM-1 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) had an "unsafe and unprofessional interaction" with a US Navy (USN) Boeing F/A-18E Super Hornet "Argonauts" of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 147 assigned to the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) on 8 August 2017 while operating in international airspace in the Central Arabian Gulf.

According to a US Naval Forces Central Command (CENTCOM) and 5th Fleet statement, the QOM-1 "executed unsafe and unprofessional altitude changes in the close vicinity of an F/A-18E in a holding pattern preparing to land on the aircraft carrier" despite "repeated radio calls to stay clear of active fixed-wing flight operations in vicinity of Nimitz ".

The statement also noted that the F/A-18E aircraft manoeuvred to avoid collision with the QOM-1 UAV resulting in a lateral separation of approximately 60 m (200 ft) and a vertical separation of approximately 30 m (100 ft), and that the "dangerous manoeuvre by the QOM-1 in the known vicinity of fixed-wing flight operations and at coincident altitude with operating aircraft created a collision hazard and is not in keeping with international maritime customs and laws".

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