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IRGC says UAVs will continue Gulf patrols

17 August 2017

Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) has indicated that it will continue to use unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to monitor aircraft carriers in the Gulf, despite recent complaints from the US Navy’s 5th Fleet.

A Sadeqh-1 UAV was seen armed with Misagh-1 anti-aircraft missiles when the type was unveiled in September 2014. The US 5th Fleet has said the Iranians are flying Sadeqgh-1s close to USS Nimitz . (Fars News Agency)A Sadeqh-1 UAV was seen armed with Misagh-1 anti-aircraft missiles when the type was unveiled in September 2014. The US 5th Fleet has said the Iranians are flying Sadeqgh-1s close to USS Nimitz . (Fars News Agency)

The Iranian media reported on 15 August that the IRGC’s Drone Division had released a statement saying it would continue to patrol Iran’s air defence identification zone (ADIZ) on a daily basis despite the “psychological operations under way by some foreign countries”. It said these flights are conducted in a professional way in accordance with standard practices.

An ADIZ is a unilaterally declared area extending beyond a country’s territory where aircraft have to identify themselves and provide flight information or risk being intercepted by jet fighters. According to information released by Iran Aeronautical Information Services, the Iranian ADIZ coincides with the Tehran Flight Information Region (FIR), which extends across much of the Gulf to meet the Kuwait, Bahrain, and United Arab Emirates FIRs.

The most recent US complaint was made on 14 August, when a spokesman for the 5th Fleet said an Iranian Qom-1 UAV “conducted an unsafe and unprofessional approach” when it came within 1,000 ft (305 m) of the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz without navigation lights late on the previous day. The UAV’s controllers did not respond to radio communications.

That followed an incident on 8 August, when the 5th Fleet said an F/A-18E Super Hornet flying from Nimitz had an “unsafe and unprofessional interaction with an Iranian Qom-1 unmanned aerial vehicle” in the central Gulf.

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