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.”
— Ali Noorani (@ali_noorani_teh) January 29, 2016
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.