An Iranian drone QOM-1 flew close to a US F/A-18E Super Hornet assigned to the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz while operating in international airspace in central Persian Gulf.
The US central Command officials called it as an ‘unsafe and unprofessional interaction’. Despite repeated radio calls to stay clear of active fixed-wing flight operations in the vicinity of the USS Nimitz, the QOM-1 executed unsafe and unprofessional altitude changes in the close vicinity of an F/A-18E that was in a holding pattern and preparing to land on the aircraft carrier, officials said Tuesday.
The F/A-18E maneuvered to avoid collision with the QOM-1 resulting in a lateral separation between the two aircraft of about 200 feet and a vertical separation of about 100 feet.
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, Centcom officials said.
This is the 13th unsafe or unprofessional interaction between US and Iranian maritime forces in 2017, the officials noted.