An F/A-18E Super Hornet preparing to land on the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz was forced to take evasive action Tuesday when an Iranian drone came dangerously close to the U.S. warplane over the Persian Gulf, according to the U.S. Navy.
"Despite repeated radio calls to stay clear of active fixed-wing flight operations within the vicinity of USS Nimitz, 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," said Cmdr. Bill Urban, a spokesman for U.S. Naval Forces Central Command.
The Navy F/A-18E had to execute a quick maneuver to avoid contact with the drone, which at one point was roughly 200 feet away horizontally and about 100 feet vertically.
"The dangerous maneuver 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," Urban said.
The U.S. says this is the 13th time this year there has been an unsafe or unprofessional interaction between U.S. and Iranian maritime forces.