Home » Aviation » U.S. Navy Confirms ‘Abnormal and Unprofessional’ Iranian UAV Recon Flight Over Carriers Truman, Charles de Gaulle


U.S. Navy Confirms ‘Abnormal and Unprofessional’ Iranian UAV Recon Flight Over Carriers Truman, Charles de Gaulle

Screen shot of an Iranian video claiming to be spy footage of USS Harry S. Truman from an Iranian UAV.

Screen shot of an Iranian video claiming to be spy footage of USS Harry S. Truman from an Iranian UAV.

Officials at U.S. 5th Fleet confirmed to USNI News Iranian forces flew an unmanned aerial vehicle over French carrier Charles de Gaulle (R91) and USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75) earlier this month in a Friday statement to USNI News.

According to 5th Fleet spokesman Cmdr. Kevin Stephens, the unknown and unarmed UAV approached the two carriers on Jan. 12 operating in the Persian Gulf when it was spotted by the crew of the Charles de Gaulle.

“The UAV then flew towards USS Harry S. Truman. Both Charles de Gaulle and Harry S. Truman were operating in international waters in the [Persian] Gulf at the time,” read the statement.
“A U.S. Navy helicopter launched from Harry S. Truman also visually identified the Iranian UAV and determined that it was unarmed.”

Since the UAV was unarmed and Truman wasn’t conducting flight operations, the crew determined the UAV posed no danger – though the UAV flew directly over the carrier.

“We determined that while the Iranian UAV’s actions posed no danger to the ship, it was however, abnormal and unprofessional,” read the statement.

Confirmation of the of the flyover by 5th Fleet follows an earlier report from the semi-official Iranian Fars News Agency that a UAV and a submarine had monitored Truman undetected.

“The Navy’s drone captured a video during the surveillance mission over the US aircraft carrier,” read the Fars report.
“Meantime, a Qadir-class submarine also belonging to the Iranian Navy was also deployed close to the US aircraft carrier with a mission to gather intelligence and capture video of the US vessel’s moves. The Iranian submarine managed to take clear pictures of the aircraft carrier without catching the attention of the staff on board.”

In addition, Iran released video claiming to be footage from the flyover.

5th Fleet would not confirm the authenticity of the Iranian footage over Truman saying that there is plenty of publically available video of U.S. carriers.

“I am not in a position to confirm the authenticity of the Iranian video or if the event described in Iranian press reports is the one from Jan. 12.,” Stephens said.

Iran has been known to use smaller radio controlled scale models of unmanned aircraft in propaganda videos.

The following is the complete Jan. 29 statement from U.S. 5th Fleet to USNI News.

On the morning of Jan. 12, an Iranian unmanned aerial vehicle flew towards the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle. Charles de Gaulle visually identified the UAV and assessed it as being unarmed. The UAV then flew towards USS Harry S. Truman. Both Charles de Gaulle and Harry S. Truman were operating in international waters in the Arabian Gulf at the time. A U.S. Navy helicopter launched from Harry S. Truman also visually identified the Iranian UAV and determined that it was unarmed. At the time, Harry S. Truman was not conducting flight ops. The UAV flew directly over USS Harry S. Truman. Because the UAV was unarmed and posed no risk to the carrier’s flight operations (since it wasn’t flying at the time), we determined that while the Iranian UAV’s actions posed no danger to the ship, it was however, abnormal and unprofessional.

I am not in a position to confirm the authenticity of the Iranian video or if the event described in Iranian press reports is the one from Jan. 12.

We are confident in our forces’ ability to respond appropriately as the situation dictates and will defend ourselves should that prove necessary.

  • Andy Goward

    surely the submarine would worry the Carrier escorts, being undetected?

  • Matt

    How could they have known whether the UAV was unarmed with today’s UAVs being rigged with explosives? How could they have known ISIS wasn’t at the controls? It is obvious to me Obama has ordered the US Navy to do nothing no matter what. The Captain of the carrier should not be putting the lives of his sailors at risk with such a delusional and dangerous President ordering him to be dangerously weak and stupid.

    • Celebrim

      Most UAV’s can carry only very small payloads. While it’s conceivable that a UAV reconnaissance drone could be carrying 15lbs of explosives rather than a camera, such an attack doesn’t threat the carriers mission and could be responded to with overwhelming force. And I doubt this POTUS actually made the shoot/no shoot call in this case.

      I’m not fan of Obama’s foreign policy with regard to Iran either, nor am I fan of his handling of National security issues, but we have to be careful to make reasonable complaints at all times lest our most serious disagreements be seen as equally trivial.

    • LewCypher

      Lack of response is not proof of Executive direction.
      Try again

      • Marcd30319

        Nor is it an argument that Executive action is absent. A decision not to not act is still a decision.

        • LewCypher

          Either way the OP has no proof of his claim.

          • Marcd30319

            Either way, it does not show what the rules of engagements are, but the inaction strongly suggests considerable constraints.

            Recalling Soviet attempts to overfly our carriers during the Cold War, there was a very pro-active effort to track, intercept, and escort any interlopers while keeping those interlopers in our gun-sights.

            The fact that this was not done strongly suggests highly constrained ROEs.

  • disqus_zommBwspv9

    next time accidental launch of a RAM

    • Michael Rich

      Cheaper to just let out a quick burst of the Phalanx.

  • NavySubNuke

    This seems like a problem a shotgun or two could have solved. Better than finding out too late that the inside of the UAV was actually loaded with a few pounds of high explosives and ball bearings to injure the poor guys on the flight deck.

    • Michael Rich

      I don’t think they’d be stupid enough to go that far. Take a pot shot at a carrier? Battle Group sends a couple Tomahawks and aircraft striking your crap.

      • NavySubNuke

        Don’t underestimate the potential benefit of strikes that cannot be attributed. There are a lot of variables to consider before a TLAM flies especially with regard to actually attributing the drone to Iran and that it was an actual authorized operation of the Iranian government or at least some part of it.
        I may be mistaken but the article isn’t clear on the US knowing the drone was from Iran before Iran released the video of the drone flying over the carrier.
        If some random commercial drone with no country of origin markings suddenly blows up over the flight deck it isn’t as simple as shooting whichever enemy is closest – especially if you are in an area as congested as the Gulf.

  • John King

    Hummm,…UAV in international waters surveilling ships in transit. The US does it all the time. And, with the proliferation of drones, expect a lot more.

  • Cuba

    «“The US destroyer USS Donald Cook, equipped with Tomahawk cruise missiles entered the neutral waters of the Black Sea on April 10, 2014. The purpose was a demonstration of force and intimidation in connection with the position of Russia in Ukraine and Crimea. The appearance of American warships in these waters is in contradiction of the Montreux Convention about the nature and duration of stay in the Black Sea by the military ships of countries not washed by this sea. In response, Russia sent an unarmed bomber Su- 24 to fly around the U.S. destroyer. However, experts say that this plane was equipped with the latest Russian electronic warfare complex. According to this version, Aegis spotted from afar the approaching aircraft, and sounded alarm. Everything went normally, and the American radars calculated the speed of the approaching target. But suddenly all the screens went blank. Aegis was not working any more, and the rockets could not get target information. Meanwhile, Su-24 flew over the deck of the destroyer, did battle turn and simulated a missile attack on the target. Then it turned and repeated the maneuver. And did so 12 times.”

    • LewCypher

      Your post originated in the Russian blogosphere and reads like it was written by someone who is either 9 years old or not a native English speaker.

      You left off this part:

      “After the incident, the foreign media reported that “Donald Cook” was rushed into a port in Romania. There all the 27 members of the crew filed a letter of resignation.”

      LOL !!!

      • Corporatski Kittenbot 2.0

        And as Ivan would also know, a destroyer in the Black sea is in no contravention of anything as it is under the tonnage allowed by same…

        Plus I’m sure as well as the US Donald Cook being blinded & with a resigned crew, she probably just sank from the shame of it all!

    • Marcd30319

      Nice cut-and-paste job, chief. The only thing missing was context and the truth, but I guess you can’t have everything when you are an ignorant and un-transparent troll.

    • Secundius

      @ Cuba.

      Montreux Convention, allow for 21-day Stay Time in the Black Sea for Visiting Ship’s…

    • Michael Rich

      Congrats on the propaganda.

    • life form

      You should hire someone who can edit your propaganda for grammar.
      That awkward prose won’t fool many people.

  • Secundius

    I question the Validity of the Video’s, If anyone Hasn’t Noticed. ALL Information on the Drone Video and Launch Video is Standard English, NOT FARSI. Are the Iranian’s Playing the “PR” Game Again, By Using Stock Video Footage and Superimposing THEIR “Letterhead” on it. According to Shutterstock. com (based in NYC) it’s THEIR Stock Video Feed…

    • publius_maximus_III

      The Persians were caught red-handed doctoring a photo showing the simultaneous launch of four land-based missiles, because another photographer had snapped a photo at almost the same instant, and from almost exactly the same direction, and it showed only three missiles.

      Those two photos were shown side-by-side in a PowerPoint presentation at the NIS. It was by a Dartmouth professor (Dr. Hany Farid, a leading expert in the field) as an example of his team’s ability to detect doctoring of digital photography and videos.

  • Western

    Our Navy seems to be getting “punked” regularly by the mighty Iranian naval armada. Perhaps we should make further cuts in our defense spending, and get our “warships” back to port before they get hurt.

    • sferrin

      Just Iran tea-bagging our C-in-C, right after he granted them everything they wanted on a silver platter for doing nothing in return.

  • Secundius

    GPS Coordinates on the Video, places the USS. Harry S. Truman, just South of the Strait of Hormuz, in the Gulf of Oman. NOT in the Persian Gulf….

    • publius_maximus_III

      BING Maps confirms your astute observation, Secundius:
      25° 25′ N, 57° 02′ E
      25.416667, 57.033333

  • Pingback: Navy says stalking of carriers by Iranian submarine and drone ‘abnormal and unprofessional’ | Freedom Newz()

  • SFC Steven M Barry USA RET

    When the US does the same thing it is pure, holy, noble, and honest.

    When anybody else does it to US it is corrupt, satanic, degraded, and deceitful.

    I’m not buying into the doe-eyed US innocent bullshit.

    S//

  • Todd Guthrie

    They may have elected not to splash this drone, but had it made a turn downwards it would have been fodder for Phalanx without doubt. If nothing else, I’m sure the weapons folk locked on it as an exercise…

  • Michael Rich

    Unfortunately the Iranians are not as professional as other nations.

  • publius_maximus_III

    “Abnormal and unprofessional”? How about provocative, and the next time you do it will shoot your hasses down?

    Need some RC scale model F/A-18 Hornets with video, to swat those little suckers out of the air. No telling how much C4 one could carry. Get those AF Predator “pilots” outside of Las Vegas on the line pronto.

  • publius_maximus_III

    Saw this on the Internet today:

    “The Dutch National Police is testing out a new means of removing unwelcome drones from the sky – trained eagles.”

    New rating for the USN: Falconer?
    Every carrier needs its own bald eagle.

  • Pat Patterson

    Just set the CWIS to drone mode!