Iranian Jet Fails to Intercept Unmanned U.S. Aircraft

By Jim Garamone

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 14, 2013 - An Iranian military jet tried to intercept an unarmed American MQ-1 remotely piloted aircraft over international waters March 12 but it was discouraged from accomplishing that mission, Pentagon officials said today.

The MQ-1 aircraft was conducting a routine classified surveillance flight over international waters in the Arabian Gulf.

Iran sent an F-4 Phantom 2 jet to intercept the unmanned aircraft. "The closest point of approach between these aircraft was approximately 16 miles," Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said in a written statement.

Two U.S. military aircraft were escorting the Predator, and the Iranian plane broke off pursuit after a verbal warning.

"All U.S. aircraft remained over international waters at all times," Little said.

In November, Iranian aircraft fired on an American remotely piloted aircraft operating over the Arabian Sea. The Iranian aircraft fired two missiles at the drone and missed. After that incident, the U.S. government informed the Iranian government that its behavior was unacceptable. Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said at the time that the U.S. military will continue to fly these missions and will protect its aircraft.

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