Iran just blasted one of the US military’s most advanced drones out of the sky

news
Smoke Trail From Shot Down Global Hawk

The Iranians just blasted one of the US military's most sophisticated and expensive drones out of the sky as tensions in the Strait of Hormuz reach the boiling point.


A Navy RQ-4 Global Hawk was shot down by an Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps missile around 11:35 pm Greenwich Mean Time on Wednesday as it flew over international waters roughly 34 kilometers off the Iranian coast, defense officials said.

The missile was fired near Goruk, Iran, Air Forces Central Command Lt. Gen. Joseph Guastella told reporters on Thursday.

Iranian claims that the drone was over Iran at the time are "categorically false," he continued. The Global Hawk went down in international waters.

"This was an unprovoked attack on a U.S. surveillance asset that had not violated Iranian airspace at any time during its mission," Guastella said. "This dangerous and escalatory attack was irresponsible and occurred in the vicinity of established air corridors between Dubai, UAE, and Muscat Oman, possibly endangering innocent civilians."

To put things into perspective, the Global Hawk is meant to conduct surveillance at very high altitudes. It can fly for more than 30 hours at 60,000 feet, according to Northrop Grumman, which makes the aircraft. The Pentagon expects that Global Hawks will eventually replace manned U-2 Dragon Lady spy planes.

The Global Hawk variant used by the Navy costs $110 million, service officials said. That makes the drone shot down Wednesday more expensive than the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. The service has three remaining RQ-4A drones.

Despite the Global Hawk's impressive capabilities, it would be wrong to assume that Iranian air defenses are more lethal than the U.S. military had expected, said retired Air Force Maj. Gen. James Poss.

Global Hawks are large aircraft and this drone was flying in a peacetime environment so it likely had no defensive systems, said Poss, now CEO of ISR Ideas, a consulting firm.

"If we were to employ that in combat: A. The missile launchers would have never been there; and B. There would have been a whole other range of things that we would have done to defend that aircraft," Poss told Task & Purpose on Thursday. "Shooting down a surveillance aircraft in peacetime in international waters is not a statement about the sophistication of your air defenses – it's a statement about your judgment, or lack thereof."

This is the third time in a month that Iranians or their proxies have taken a shot at a U.S. military drone.

CENTCOM claims that Houthi rebels in Yemen shot down an MQ-9 Reaper on June 6 with Iranian assistance, and the Iranians attempted to destroy another Reaper over the Gulf of Oman a week later, but their surface-to-air-missile missed.

President Donald Trump told reporters on Thursday that he believed an Iranian commander "made a mistake" in ordering the Global Hawk shot down.

"I find it hard to believe it was intentional, if you want to know the truth," Trump said at the White House. "I think that it could have been somebody who was loose and stupid that did it. We'll be able to report back and you'll understand exactly what happened, but it was a very foolish move."

Trump also said that no one his administration is trying to push him into a conflict with Iran. In fact, his advisors often urge him to show caution.

"But this a new wrinkle; this is a new fly in the ointment, what happened shooting down the drone," Trump said. "This country will not stand for it. That I can tell you."

Read Lt. Gen. Joseph Guastella's entire statement below:

"A U.S. Navy RQ-4 was flying over the Gulf of Oman and the Strait of Hormuz on a surveillance mission in international airspace in the vicinity of recent IRGC maritime attacks when it was shot down by an IRGC surface to air missile fired from a location in the vicinity of Goruk, Iran.

"This was an unprovoked attack on a U.S. surveillance asset that had not violated Iranian airspace at any time during its mission.
This attack is an attempt to disrupt our ability to monitor the area following recent threats to international shipping and free flow of commerce.

"Iranian reports that this aircraft was shot down over Iran are categorically false.

"The aircraft was over the Strait of Hormuz and fell into international waters.

"At the time of the intercept, the RQ-4 was operating at high-altitude approximately 34 kilometers from the nearest point of land on the Iranian coast.

"This dangerous and escalatory attack was irresponsible and occurred in the vicinity of established air corridors between Dubai, UAE, and Muscat Oman, possibly endangering innocent civilians."

SEE ALSO: Trump: I'm Not Sure I'd Go To War With Iran Over Oil

WATCH NEXT: Gen. Petraeus On Shia Militias And Iran

"It's kind of like the equivalent of dropping a soda can into canyon and putting on a blindfold and going and finding it, because you can't just look down and see it," diver Jeff Goodreau said of finding the wreck.

The USS Eagle 56 was only five miles off the coast of Maine when it exploded.

The World War I-era patrol boat split in half, then slipped beneath the surface of the North Atlantic. The Eagle 56 had been carrying a crew of 62. Rescuers pulled 13 survivors from the water that day. It was April 23, 1945, just two weeks before the surrender of Nazi Germany.

The U.S. Navy classified the disaster as an accident, attributing the sinking to a blast in the boiler room. In 2001, that ruling was changed to reflect the sinking as a deliberate act of war, perpetuated by German submarine U-853, a u-boat belonging to Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine.

Still, despite the Navy's effort to clarify the circumstances surrounding the sinking, the Eagle 56 lingered as a mystery. The ship had sunk relatively close to shore, but efforts to locate the wreck were futile for decades. No one could find the Eagle 56, a small patrol ship that had come so close to making it back home.

Then, a group of friends and amateur divers decided to try to find the wreck in 2014. After years of fruitless dives and intensive research, New England-based Nomad Exploration Team successfully located the Eagle 56 in June 2018.

Business Insider spoke to two crew members — meat truck driver Jeff Goodreau and Massachusetts Department of Corrections officer Donald Ferrara — about their discovery.

Read More Show Less
(CIA photo)

Before the 5th Special Forces Group's Operational Detachment Alpha 595, before 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment's MH-47E Chinooks, and before the Air Force combat controllers, there were a handful of CIA officers and a buttload of cash.

Read More Show Less

The last time the world saw Marine veteran Austin Tice, he had been taken prisoner by armed men. It was unclear whether his captors were jihadists or allies of Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad who were disguised as Islamic radicals.

Blindfolded and nearly out of breath, Tice spoke in Arabic before breaking into English:"Oh Jesus. Oh Jesus."

That was from a video posted on YouTube on Sept. 26, 2012, several weeks after Tice went missing near Damascus, Syria, while working as a freelance journalist for McClatchy and the Washington Post.

Now that Tice has been held in captivity for more than seven years, reporters who have regular access to President Donald Trump need to start asking him how he is going to bring Tice home.

Read More Show Less

"Shoots like a carbine, holsters like a pistol." That's the pitch behind the new Flux Defense system designed to transform the Army's brand new sidearm into a personal defense weapon.

Read More Show Less

Sometimes a joke just doesn't work.

For example, the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service tweeted and subsequently deleted a Gilbert Gottfried-esque misfire about the "Storm Area 51" movement.

On Friday DVIDSHUB tweeted a picture of a B-2 bomber on the flight line with a formation of airmen in front of it along with the caption: "The last thing #Millenials will see if they attempt the #area51raid today."

Read More Show Less