Home » Foreign Forces » Crew of Iranian Frigate Points Weapons at U.S. Navy Helo, Coalition Auxiliary

Crew of Iranian Frigate Points Weapons at U.S. Navy Helo, Coalition Auxiliary

A starboard beam view of an Iranian Alvand class frigate underway. US Navy Photo

A starboard beam view of an Iranian Alvand class frigate underway. US Navy Photo

The crew of an Iranian frigate briefly trained crew served weapons on a U.S. Navy helicopter and a coalition auxiliary ship during a July 25 incident in the Gulf of Aden, an U.S. Navy official told USNI News on Wednesday.
Iranian Navy frigate IRS Alvand (F 71) engaged the MH-60R Seahawk and the auxiliary during a training operation with the USS Farragut (DDG-99).

The Navy did neither disclose the nationality of the auxiliary nor provide details of the type of ship.

Alvand — a 1960s era Vosper-class frigate built in the U.K. — came within 200 yards of the auxiliary and briefly pointed crew served weapons at both the auxiliary and the Seahawk before breaking away, the official told USNI News.

“U.S. and coalition forces did to respond in order not to escalate the situation,” the official said and the Navy has deemed the actions of the crew of Alvand “unsafe and unprofessional.”

It’s unclear if Alvand communicated with Farragut, the auxiliary or the helicopter before it came alongside the auxiliary.

According to a Wednesday report by CNN, members of Alvand’s crew on deck had cameras pointed at the both the helicopter and the auxiliary.

“Were they just trying to get cool pictures pointing at us? Were they making a propaganda film? Was some guy taking pictures to send to his girlfriend? We don’t know,” the report quoted a defense official.

Undated photo of USS Farragut (DDG-99). US Navy Photo

Undated photo of USS Farragut (DDG-99). US Navy Photo

Interactions between the U.S. Navy and the Iranian Navy have been characterized by the U.S. as largely professional.

Relations with the more radical Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy (IRGCN) — charged with protecting Iranian home waters in the Persian Gulf — have been more volatile.

Though the Navy didn’t specify, the auxiliary was likely in the Gulf of Aden to support the long-standing international Combined Taskforce 151 (CTF-151) anti-piracy patrols.

Farragut is deployed as part of the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group (CSG) which departed in March for the Middle East.

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Categories: Foreign Forces, News & Analysis, Piracy, Surface Forces, U.S. Navy
Sam LaGrone

About Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone is the editor of USNI News. He was formerly the U.S. Maritime Correspondent for the Washington D.C. bureau of Jane’s Defence Weekly and Jane’s Navy International. He has covered legislation, acquisition and operations for the Sea Services and spent time underway with the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and the Canadian Navy.

  • Curtis Conway

    If inappropriate conduct is not challenged, or retaliated against, it will accelerate.

    • Ruckweiler

      Everything we’re doing as a country is egging these clowns on.

      • Curtis Conway

        With the current leadership at the very top, that is an accurate analysis.

        • Secundius

          @ Curtis Conway.

          I kind of wonder, how many of those ChiCon PLAN ship’s had “Itchy-Fingered” Officer’s with Officer’s Dying to Blow Our Ship’s Out of the Water. If the Order was Given, at our Last Joint Fleet Exercise…

  • dpaul

    Our Navy shows more restraint and maturity than the average cop on the street. Go Navy.

  • Gray Stoke

    Operation Praying Mantis II now !!!

  • Bill

    The commanders on the scene have to worry how much – if any – support they’d get if forced to engage in self defense. This Iran nuke deal is worth far more to our President than anything else.

    • Jandanagger Laterobinson

      Especially when the alternative is a pre-emptive strike and another useless war in the Middle East

      • Bill

        So to be clear, as our young president likes to say, should USN units run away if fired upon by Iranian ships? What if they’re actually damaged or suffer casualties? I mean, ” anything” is better than another useless war.

        • redgriffin

          They weren’t fired on they were tracked and it would seem response was proportional to the overt act. The game was called “Chicken of the Sea” when I was in the Canoe Club and we played it with the Soviets then.

          • Bill

            I didn’t say or imply the Iranians had fired, I was speculating that even if they had, an on-scene commander might expect little support from Washington. I would point out that in the January 1989 MiG-23 times 2 shootdown in the Gulf of Sidra, the F-14’s took out the MiG’s based on provocative behavior. Of course, we had President Reagan then.

          • redgriffin

            I always thought the on seen commander had the last call that they were not to contact Washington over everything that why they got the pay. In this incident the Iranians just pointed guns at a Helicopter with the history of the US in the Gulf I might do the same thing .Still the Hardliners in Iran want a incident just as the Hardliners her in the US the bravest thing to do was to do nothing I believe that the Co of the Farragut earn their money by not over reacting.

          • Secundius

            @ redgriffin.

            Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t the US Navy’s Central Command and a US Air Force Base located in Qatar somewhere…

          • redgriffin

            Yes but still the ship commander has last word unless directly ordered to act.

  • Jandanagger Laterobinson

    The “Alvand” was the lead ship of four frigates built by Vosper Thorneycroft in the late 60’s. Originally the ship was the “Saam” and renamed “Alvand” after the Iranian revolution. Hence “Alvand” class – definitely not “Vosper” class.

  • Lazarus

    Stand-off’s with Iranian ships have occurred since the late 1980’s. They always have the potential for bad outcomes, especially for Iran!

    I don’t think President Obama could justify not responding if an Iranian warship caused US casualties (legacy or no legacy).

  • Ruckweiler

    The Idiot-in-Chief is probably unconcerned.

  • Richard5877

    Next time blow there ass’s out of the water and they won’t do it again!!!

  • Richard5877

    It was caused because they saw a video someone burning a Koran?? Hillary would say that…

  • Steve Skubinna

    That this was a regular Iranian Navy ship surprises me. I have dealt with them before and they have always been professional and courteous. As the article notes, the real loose cannons in the area are the IRGC, the Pasdaran. If Iran gets in a war soon it will probably be because something those clowns do. I have had those guys cut close across my bow and point crew served weapons at me, but so far never the regular Iranian navy.

    I’m willing to bet this was some unauthorized goofing around by young sailors and not an officially sanctioned act.

    Back in the Cold War we had a treaty with the USSR on how our units conducted themselves in proximity with each other, because of early incidents such as this.

  • dan

    Pushing button’s to see what response is given, where is Reagon?

  • Brad

    They should’ve heated up those guns with a couple laser shots. Melted the crap out of them.

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  • John B. Morgen

    By not doing anything will only encourage them to point their armaments at us again, again and again; then we should point our armaments at them—if the Iranians wish to play this type of games. Are we really a super-power or not, if are a super-power then we should act like one and not some bloody wimp.

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