Home » News & Analysis » Iranian Drone Harasses USS Nimitz For a Second Time in a Week


Iranian Drone Harasses USS Nimitz For a Second Time in a Week

An F/A-18F Super Hornet from the “Black Knights” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 154 launches from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) while another Super Hornet from the “Black Knights” and an EA-18G Growler from the “Gray Wolves” of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 142 prepare to launch, July 29, 2017, in the Arabian Gulf. US Navy photo.

For the second time in a week, an Iranian drone approached USS Nimitz (CVN-68) while the carrier conducted air operations in international waters.

Sunday night in the central Persian Gulf, the Iranian drone, “conducted an unsafe and unprofessional approach of USS Nimitz,” said a statement released by Lt. Ian McConnaughey, a Navy Fifth Fleet spokesman.

On August 8, an Iranian drone harassed an F/A-18E Super Hornet assigned to Nimitz. During that incident, the drone came within 100 feet vertically and 200 feet laterally of the Super Hornet, which maneuvered to avoid colliding with what a Navy official told USNI News was a drone of about 14 feet by 26 feet.

During the most recent incident, repeated radio calls to establish communications with the drone’s controlling station were not answered, according to the Navy.

“The UAV did not use any aircraft navigation lights while it made several passes in close proximity to Nimitz and its escort ships during active flight operations, coming within 1,000 feet of U.S. aircraft,” read the statement. “The failure of the Iranian UAV to utilize standard, internationally-mandated navigation lights during a night time approach of a U.S. aircraft carrier engaged in flight operations created a dangerous situation with the potential for collision and is not in keeping with international maritime customs and laws.”

 

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Categories: News & Analysis
Ben Werner

About Ben Werner

Ben Werner is a staff writer for USNI News. He has worked as a freelance writer in Busan, South Korea, and as a staff writer covering education and publicly traded companies for The Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk, Va., The State newspaper in Columbia, S.C., Savannah Morning News in Savannah, Ga., and Baltimore Business Journal. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland and a master’s degree from New York University.

  • NavySubNuke

    I’m sure the Iranians are happy to see how easily they can fly drones over our HVU’s without fear we will shoot them down.
    Hopefully someone in the chain of command is thinking about at what point we should start shooting these down.

  • NavySubNuke

    ** Pats Tomcat on the head ** LOL. Nice job confusing inherent right to self defense and provoking a war.

    • sferrin

      Ever notice, no matter what the other guy does, ram ships, buzz planes, ignore treaties, set off nukes, etc. it always the US that gets blamed for “provoking war”, “escalating tension” etc.

      • NavySubNuke

        That is because the hearts of the other guys are always so pure while we are just evil capitalists bent on world domination of course.
        Never mind the fact that their citizens are marching through the streets calling for the deaths and torture of millions, sponsoring and training terrorists, and throwing acid in the face of women who dare to show their ankles or wrists in public —- the US is evil!

        • John Locke

          Meanwhile, back in Charlottesvlle

          • NavySubNuke

            and Ferguson and Baltimore and anywhere else racist hate groups decide to protest.
            But thanks for proving my point about how you’re unable to think for yourself…

          • Duane

            Uhh … you really are confused. Charlottsville was all about alt-righters, KKKers and nazis demonstrating in favor of kicking out everybody who isn’t them.

            Do you need some remedial educating?

          • NavySubNuke

            Nope — I have no problem viewing racist hate groups equally no matter the color of the skin of their members.
            I realize that violates the programming of folks like John Locke but that doesn’t mean it isn’t true.

          • FelixA9

            Do you? The violence was started by Antifa.

          • Duane

            No. Stop polluting your brain with Fox News/Breitbart propaganda. The entire episode was started by racists and nazis marching in defense of racial hate. Everybody knows that.

          • Gen. Buck Turgidson

            On your street thug side Dolt

          • Duane

            Given that the entire Republican party is now on record condemning Trump’s remarks made yesterday, either directly or indirectly, it appears that few except dedicated nazis and KKKers agree with Trump and you that those protesting racial hate were at fault.

            btw – I’ve seen the videos … it wasn’t started by the counter-protestors. And none of the counter protestors killed anybody and injured 19 others with a deadly weapon.

            btw – what are you, nine years old? Or do you only comment like a 9 year old?

          • Duane

            Go to the back of the line again, dude.

          • draeger24

            let’s get you educated.Fascism and Nazism are LEFT WING, right of communism, but still LEFT WING. Communism=LEFT Wing=Marxism=Democrats in their present platform – collectivism…RIGHT=strict Constitutionalism, fewer regulations, small government, low taxes, freedom as GOD granted, not men, and no collectivism like ObamaCare…COLLECTIVISM is responsible for 94million deaths in the 20th century – Stephan Courtois “The Black Book of Communism”, pg 4.

          • Gen. Buck Turgidson

            Stick with hitler,,stalin,,mao ,,isis and other historical statue removers

          • FelixA9

            Meanwhile in Charlottesville Antifa experienced karma.

          • Marcd30319

            Non sequitur.

          • Gen. Buck Turgidson

            Yes in Chicago as all the statues are yanks,,tho the stupid cant tell,,its down with G Washington and demo stone mountain,,rushmore etc,,,The Natl parks,,Arlington are next,,

      • John Locke

        Well, it’s because there’s some truth in it ……. Vietnam……. Bay of Pigs……. OIF.

        • draeger24

          and still not very experienced

      • Curtis Conway

        Its called ‘putting on the Big Boy pants and doing what has to be done’. G-d will reward us in the end.

  • NavySubNuke

    Good thing you upvoted your own post — I doubt anyone else will.

  • Curtis Conway

    If a drone enters the controlled air space around the carrier without permission, and is not under advisory control at least, it should be eliminated immediately.

    • leroy

      Should make for some fun target practice! Don’t know why a CVN CO would stand for such nonsense. If his ship, aircraft or people are endangered, it is his responsibility to protect them. The Nimitz CO should have ordered the immediate destruction of the drone.

  • El Kabong

    You mean the Iranians getting ANOTHER spanking?

  • El Kabong

    “INTERNATIONAL WATERS”.

    So, you need an education.

    • publius_maximus_III

      I’ve been in favor of renaming it Freedom Gulf…

    • Duane

      Apparently the United States of America should stay out of the GULF OF MEXICO, by his (lack of) reasoning..

      And Mexico better stay the heck out of the GULF OF CALIFORNIA.

      • tfpiii

        And Persians (Iranians) should never leave the Persian Gulf, because that’s the only body of water with their name in it.

        F-14 Tomcat couldn’t think himself out of a game of tic-tac-toe he was playing by himself.

  • publius_maximus_III

    Drop a flare on the next one.

    • Duane

      Better to get some gun practice in.

      • publius_maximus_III

        That could only be construed as an offensive maneuver. A flare burning through some of its control surfaces could be explained as purely defensive — “I couldn’t tell what it was in the dark, so decided I’d better drop some flares, just in case it was about to flame my rear end with a heat seeking missile.”

        • Duane

          Who cares if it is offensive or defensive? I certainly don’t. The Iranians have shot down American drones, and they didn’t care either. The Iranians also captured an American small boat crew awhile back, at gunpoint, when it was obviously engaged in innocent passage with a mechanical breakdown, and then held them as prisoners.

          Threaten the safety of our air ops in international waters, and there must be a reaction. If it’s a drone, simply shoot it down. No need to worry about dead bodies.

  • FromTheMirror

    What’s the Navy’s excuse for not downing that drone? Weakness only begets more provocation.

    • DaSaint

      The US isn’t weak. POTUS isn’t weak. His predecessor was ‘weak’ and signed an agreement with Iran, and therefore because of his ‘weakness’, the drone wasn’t shot down. It’s Obama’s fault. Has to be.

      Seriously, there are ROE, though I couldn’t tell you how/if they apply to unmanned systems. My best guess is that there is a degree of tolerance being shown, and if/when it is determined that an Iranian drone has gone too far, literally and figuratively, then actions will be taken to disable or destroy it. That’s my guess.

      • FromTheMirror

        Yeah, it’s that “degree of tolerance being shown” what I have a problem with. Iranians are learning the wrong lessons and drawing the wrong conclusions because of it.

        • DaSaint

          Hopefully, 3 strikes and you’re out.

      • Duane

        Trump is the weakest President we’ve ever had, and that includes Jimmy Carter. He is weak because A) He thinks he’s the greatest, which as every charlatan, snake-oil salesman, and con man will tell you, makes him the easist mark to take, and B) He is a blowhard so nobody with any brains believes a single word that come out of his mouth.

        As Detective Harry Callahan famously said as “Dirty Harry”, “A man’s gotta know his limitations”.

        We’ve already seen Putin wrap Trump around his little Russian finger (Donald Trump: “Thank you Putin, I’m glad you saved us a bunch of money by kicking 786 of our diplomats out of your country.”), and Xi take him to school (Donald Trump: “Who knew this China-Korea stuff was so complicated?”).

        Even Kim figured out Trump, that his bluster was just bluster, and came to the realization that in a bluster vs. bluster campaign of words, he could not out Trump Trump .. and so merely settled for continuing his nuke ICBM program.

        • DaSaint

          I’m from NY, and for all of my adult life, I’ve experienced Trump. He’s no different now, than he was 40 years ago. And us folks in NY know a little something about blowhards, but HE is the top of the list, unapologetic, infallible, egocentric and narcissistic. And no, that does not describe most New Yorkers.

  • John Locke

    This time last year this thread would have been filled with filthy anti-Obama remarks.

    • sferrin

      And rightly so.

    • NavySubNuke

      1) None of them would have been filthy – at least here on this board – that is just you exaggerating to try and create the impression it was based on something besides facts and objective opinions
      2) Comments about how weak willed Obama was and how he let the rest of the world walk all over us while he was busy bowing and apologizing — or worse, drawing red lines and then refusing to follow through on them — were based on years of experience and actual events.
      The trouble with trying to turn everything into a partisan political commentary is you come off looking like an idiot. Why you don’t try actually engaging your brain and thinking about America once in a while rather than just reflexively reacting the way you have been programmed to. I know that risks you actually saying something intelligent rather than what you have been told is the truth but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

      • John Locke

        LOL!!

      • Duane

        He was just pointing out your hypocrisy, and that of your fellow Trumpians.

        Obama was much more highly respected than Trump .. really, everybody knows that. He made a single red line and then didn’t follow up. That was not good. He made errors as president, as all presidents do. What Obama didn’t do was build an entire campaign and presidency around loud self-congratulatory threatening bombast without the slightest understanding or concern about how both his countrymen, his military forces, and foreign powers would perceive routine, daily chest thumping and obvious stupid rhetoric that has exactly nothing in reality behind it.

        Whether it’s claiming for years now that we’ll build a wall and force Mexico to pay for it (here’s a clue, neither has the slightest chance of happening) .. or declaring that he would force China to rein in NORK nukes (the Chinese ARE the NK nuke program, both technologically and financially) … or that he will bring down fire and brimstone on the NORKS just for making their decades old verbal threats that every other President knew was bluster only, because any attempt to attack either the US or SK would result in the immediate obliteration of Kim and his entire regime.

        Not to mention all of the domestic bombast that has frothed from Trump’s mouth with no reality behind it (“Health care for everybody, and it’ll be cheap!”).

        None of this has anything to do with Republican vs. Democrat, or left vs.right .. it has everything to do with the fitness for office of our current POTUS, which is nil. Everybody outside of a handful of domestic Trumpians understands that quite well.

        And by the way, I am not a democrat or an Obama supporter. I am also not a republican either. Both parties are reprehensible. Our most respected presidents of the last 65 years have all been republicans – Eisenhower, Reagan, and Bush 41. Unfortunately, none of those guys would recognize the current republican presidency as in any way, shape, or form being of the party they led in their respective days.

        • NavySubNuke

          I stopped reading after you accused me of being a Tumpian which is completely untrue. I think he is an idiot who is completely unfit to be president — as was his democratic opponent — and I did not vote for him.

          Nice try though!

          • Duane

            Maybe it was your kneejerk attack on Obama that gave me a clue.

            So did you vote for Trump, or Clinton? Or none of the above?

          • NavySubNuke

            LOL – oh Duane it is cute when you pretend you have a clue. As to your question – I viewed this election as the American equivalent of the kobayashi maru and happily voted for neither.

          • Duane

            I voted for Clinton – as the only viable defense against Trump and Trumpians. First time in my life I ever voted Dem. I don’t regret the vote in the least little bit. And I don’t like Clinton.

          • NavySubNuke

            You know, I have a gold star sticker around here somewhere, just let me find it and you can go ahead and stick it to your lapel for the rest of the afternoon as a sign of how proud I am of you.

          • Duane

            No pride – disgust that I had to vote Clinton to avoid the GOP selling us to the Russians. Alas, no go. Bought and paid for.

          • muzzleloader

            You HAD to vote clinton? You could have just stayed home.

          • Duane

            Not enough. As it turned out, it wasn’t enough anyway. Too many GOPers voted tribe over country.

        • draeger24

          “Not to mention all of the domestic bombast that has frothed from Trump’s mouth with no reality behind it (“Health care for everybody, and it’ll be cheap!”).” Methinks you are a bit of a hypocrite…..

          • Duane

            Hypocritical about what? I have always, from the moment Trump first said he’d run, believed and spoke and wrote that he was and always would be unfit for office. And that he is nothing more than a liar and a cheat, with no character.

            I did not vote for Obama, but I never felt he was unfit for office, just not my preferred kinda guy. I voted for Mitt Romney, GWB (twice), and every Republican before them from the year I first was legal to vote. I never believed any of their Democrat opponents were clearly unfit for office. Trump is truly unique in American history.

          • draeger24

            oh please….Obama was/is a marxist. He was the most unfit for office if ever anyone was. Trump is the right man in the right time in history.

          • muzzleloader

            Draeger, you are wasting your time talking to this guy. He is a Hillary voter and he despises Trump.

          • draeger24

            it is unfortunate, huh? When will people pay attention to history. GOD Bless, brutha.

          • muzzleloader

            God bless.

          • Duane

            Oh please yourself. Obama was not a Marxist, he was a standard issue liberal Democrat.

            But in your lights, everybody not an extreme right wingnut – like Trump has transformed himself into the last two years in order to get elected by the stupid GOP – is suddenly a Marxist. That’s the typical extremist wingnut formulation.

            Trump has finally completely outed himself as of yesterday’s “press conference” when he declared that there were “many good people” marching with the Nazis and Klansmen in Charlottesville. That was too much even for the Republicans who sold their souls to the devil for an election win – virtually universal condemnation from GOP leaders in Congress and Governors’ mansions across the country.

            The beginning of the end of the Trump nightmare seems to be upon us.

        • muzzleloader

          Look out, Duanne anti- Trump rant #10.

          • Duane

            Trump is still in office … the commentary (and low poll ratings) will continue until he leaves office, because it is obvious to everybody that Trump will never “grow into the office” as so many of his GOP apologists used to justify their support of an obviously unfit candidate. While in the meantime all of those dedicated “conservatives” easily shed their principals and supported a man who supported nothing other than himself, a man who spent most of his adult life a) dodging the draft b) voting for and giving money to democrats c) vehemently attacking the greatest Republican since Abraham Lincoln – i.e., Ronald Reagan – and d) was the biggest critic of the Republican president and congress throughout all of the GWB years. That includes evangelicals who looked the other way while their guy was groping scores of women, divorcing several of them, and basically living a life in direct opposition to all that the evangelicals always said was important (at least, during the Clinton years) about character mattering.

  • Duane

    I’m finding it difficult to understand why we are not shooting these drones out of the sky. Is it that the ROE prevents it, or fear by the ship’s CO that lacking specific permission to do so by the ROE, he does not want to overstep his authority?

    • DaSaint

      It’s Obama’s fault they’re not shooting them out of the sky. It has to be.

      • Duane

        A little sarcasm?

        It matters not who sits behind the Resolute Desk … this is a matter of the ROE. I’m suggesting that given present activities by the Iranian drones, it is time to consider a change to the ROE.

        • DaSaint

          Agree. And yes, a little sarcasm.

  • Bo

    Splash them under the SROE … oh, we are talking about the Navy, where no one makes a decision unless cleared through the OOD, CO, then Theater Commander (and the vampire has left by the time all that happens)!

    • NavySubNuke

      I agree with the first part.
      As to the second I don’t — MASON seemed to do a fairly good job when there were actual vampires in the air heading for her.

      • John Locke

        USS Vincennes however………..

  • NavySubNuke

    Wow what a fierce comeback there with your standard talking points. What better way to prove you can think critically and for yourself than to mindlessly stutter out what you have been told by your political masters is the truth.
    I tell you – I stand in absolute awe of your critical thinking skills!

    • muzzleloader

      And it is ironic that he goes by tomcat.
      To some of us, that name means something!

      • NavySubNuke

        It is probably the kind of plane he flew in Iran since they still have (or at least had) a few operational ones from before the terrorists took over.

        • Gen. Buck Turgidson

          or your Taliban buddies mohammed

    • John Locke

      Thank you, I knew I wouldn’t have to try very hard to impress you.

      • NavySubNuke

        hey look at that — it can actually be entertaining when it isn’t just vomiting out democratic talking points.

        • John Locke

          yes, democratic talking points ………. relating to or supporting democracy or its principles.
          you are charming

          • NavySubNuke

            Oh yeah, blindly and unquestionably supporting one of our two failed political parties while mindlessly parroting their obviously false talking points is definitely a great way to “support democracy”.

          • John Locke

            LOL…………you ARE funny.

          • FelixA9

            How much do you get paid to spam military boards? Or do you just get paid in virtue points?

          • John Locke

            What spam?

        • Duane

          Funny … a whole lotta Republican leaders, including senators and governors, have been using the very same talking points,to wit:

          Nazis and racists – bad

          How inflammtory,and now even the Republicans are joining in. They must all be joining the Democrat party, right?

          • NavySubNuke

            I’m not really sure what you are trying to say here. Of course racism and Nazism is bad — you realize we fought a whole world war over the racism of Japan and the Nazi’s right?

          • Duane

            Better explain it to Trump then… it took him more than 48 hours and a staff-written teleprompter speech to finally say it.

          • NavySubNuke

            For one I don’t personally speak to Trump. For another, I try to avoid getting caught up in the manufactured outrage cycle.
            This reminds me of how everyone was raging that Obama refused to call a terrorist attack terrorism until days later. It makes for good sound bytes for those who like politics but is hardly a real issue and does nothing to actually deal with the real issues and danger our country is facing.

          • Duane

            You can stop dithering now. Trump completely outed his true self yesterday at his Trump Tower “press conference” when he declared that “many good people were marching” with the Nazis and Klansmen in Charlottesville

            Then Trump incredibly went on to defend and declare Robert E. Lee, the military chief of the traitors who repudiated his oath to defend the Constitution and went to war against the United States of America in order to preserve slavery, as equal with George Washington.

            That set of insane remarks drew virtually universal condemnation from nearly everybody in the GOP, not just the opposition Dems. Deservedly so.

            I rather expect that this is the beginning of the end for the experiment in insane Trumpism.

          • NavySubNuke

            I’ve been hoping his advanced age, poor diet, and lack of exercise would allow the problem to take care of itself sooner rather than later ever since the election since a nice massive heart attack would really be the best thing for the nation.
            At least we can count on the secret service to do the right thing if it really comes down to it. As much as I hate trump and think he is completely unfit for the presidency I still trust them and Pence and Mattis to keep the country afloat.
            We survived 8 years of Obama using hatred and racism to drive people apart we can certainly survive another 6 – 12 months of Trump doing the same.
            This entire mess just makes me regret the 2012 election even more though. If America had done the right thing and given Obama the boot 4 years ago just think of how much better off we would today as we now entered Romney’s second term having been spared the last 4 years of Obama and the entire three ring circus/embarrassment that was the 2016 election.

          • Duane

            I agree with you that Mitt Romney was the far better choice in 2012. But unfortunately the voters didn’t see it that way. Obama certainly did what he could to divide America, and particularly he purposely did and said things designed to drive the Republican far right crazy, in hopes of driving a wedge within the GOP between the extreme right and the moderate wings. It worked marvelously, giving us Trump as the GOP nominee. What Obama failed to account for was the frankenstein factor – i.e., that he created a monster but it soon got out of control. He never figured on Trump, or some similar crazy extremist, actually beating his Democrat successor.

            Just as the excesses of GWB begat the equal and opposite reaction of Obama as his successor, Obama begat (unwittingly) Trump.

            I’m ready for the country to stop swinging wildly and start settling back to the mean, more or less centric, that has been our norm for 230 some years.

          • NavySubNuke

            We may not agree on much – but on this I agree with you.
            If you haven’t read it before I recommend you read “Six Frigates” By Ian Toll. In this time of political turmoil and upheaval I found it strangely comforting to read just how divided we were in the first 20 – 30 years after the revolution. We survived the upheaval then – we can survive Trump.

          • Duane

            Haven’t read it yet, but I’ll look for it.

            Our nation was born in division, between north and south. It eventually was partially settled by the very bloody Civil War … and even that upheaval did not settle race relations, as we still had a decade plus of Reconstruction followed by 90 years of Jim Crow to finally end racial apartheid. The crap that went down in Charlottsville last weekend is evidence that we still have radical diehards around today. And the Party of Lincoln is now apparently the Party of Trump. Abraham would be most disappointed. Ditto with Ronald Reagan.

            We’ll keep plugging along. We need to figure out how to get things done in a divided country. No single party can dictate to the entire American people – I hope that we’ve finally figured out that part.

          • muzzleloader

            I have enjoyed the USNI news website for about 2 years now. It has been for me, a repository of interesting articles on the latest news of the Naval community, which I have been part of for 30 years now, in uniform, and now a civilian employee. What I have especially enjoyed, is the forums, written by men who are intelligent, educated, and share the love of the Navy, and our Country, and it has been something enjoyed just about every day.
            When it comes to military issues, I suppose politics are inevitable. People are entitled to thier opinions, and they vary with the politico in question. When it comes to Trump, people either love him or despise him, which people are also entitled to.
            But when USNI readers are readers are voicing thier desire to see the president have a massive heart attack, and die, I just have no words.

          • NavySubNuke

            Fair point and certainly one I would have agreed with at any time point prior to the 2016 election before the political parties started taking crazy pills and gave us the choice between two completely unfit candidates.
            Admittedly the 25th amendment or an impeachment in the house and removal by the senate could also save us but those are much less likely and come with a difficult political cost to an already divided country.

  • FelixA9

    Explain how it is that many of those diving out of the way of the car, as it backed up, were carrying bats.

  • Grantland

    Enjoyed reading most of the comments. I find that reviewing these comments make me think hard about what critical thinking is going on during peace time vs. war. There is no simple answer to what should be the response. How often do you poke someone in the eye before they respond? What is a measured response? I would think that if these drones were causing safety issues that they would be shot down?

  • Frank Mockery

    My daughter is on the USS Nimitz & rest assured that when deemed prudent their response to the continued harassment by Iranian drones will be enthusiastic to say the least. This ill-conceived stupidity on their part could lead to a full blown military confrontation giving Donald Trump’s advisors & benefactors the excuse they’ve been looking for to attack the Iranian’s nuclear & missile facilities. The Iranian’s continuous efforts to provoke the US Navy could abruptly blow up in their faces (pun intended) & lead to their militaries inevitable annihilation. PROUD NAVY DAD !!!

  • SFC Steven M Barry USA RET

    How about “USS Nimitz Harasses Iranian Drilling Platforms For A Second Time In A Week?”

    I think it would be cool if they landed one on the deck.

    • Barry

      For a guy who makes a big deal about having served, you sure do hate the US. Sorry your life sucks, but the USA rocks. You should consider leaving if you hate it there so much. Seriously.
      Maybe some Jew will pay your way to Iran or North Korea or somewhere else you would prefer.
      Check, please!

  • Ed L

    What are the EA-18G Growlers doing?

  • Gen. Buck Turgidson

    who in gods name is writing the rules of engagement? Adm Obama?,,No wonder historical statues are ripped down every day in public

  • Gen. Buck Turgidson

    Obama rules of engagement