Iranian drone forces US jet to take evasive action

PACIFIC OCEAN (June 17, 2017) The aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) transits the Pacific Ocean, June 17, 2017. Nimitz is currently in the Pacific Ocean on a regularly scheduled deploymnet to the Western Pacific and Indian Oceans. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Holly L. Herline)

WASHINGTON (CNN/WAVY) — An Iranian drone came within 100 feet of a US Navy F/A-18 attempting to land on the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz in the Persian Gulf on Tuesday, Navy officials said.

Navy officials released a statement on the encounter Tuesday afternoon, calling it “unsafe” and “unprofessional.”

An Iranian QOM-1 unmanned aerial vehicle forced the US aircraft to take evasive action, according to officials.

The drone came within 100 feet below the aircraft and 200 feet to the side of the aircraft.

An F/A-18 from the “Argonauts” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 147 was in a landing pattern several thousand feet off the deck of the ship waiting to land.

The F/A-18 maneuvered repeatedly to avoid the drone, officials said. The drone did not appear to be armed.

The US used an emergency radio frequency in the immediate area to warn those operating the drone to back away. It did eventually move off.

According to Navy officials, this is the 13th  “unsafe” or “unprofessional” encounter between US and Iranian maritime forces this year.