A US Navy MQ-4C Triton has been shot down by an Iranian surface to air missile while in international airspace over the Strait of Hormuz, a US official has said.
Iranian state media however quoted Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as saying it had downed a drone when it entered Iranian airspace near the Kouhmobarak district north of the Strait of Hormuz.
This is the second time in a week the US has announced that Iran has attacked one of its drones.
According to a statement from US Central Command issued on the 16th, an MQ-9 was also attacked:
“According to our assessment, a modified Iranian SA-7 surface-to-air missile attempted to shoot down a U.S. MQ-9, at 6:45 a.m. local time, June 13, over the Gulf of Oman, to disrupt surveillance of the IRGC attack on the M/T Kokuka Courageous.
Subsequent analysis indicates that this was a likely attempt to shoot down or otherwise disrupt the MQ-9 surveillance of the IRGC attack on the M/T Kokuka Courageous.”
The Triton is a high altitude long endurance aircraft that will be used for maritime patrol and other surveillance roles.
Supporting missions up to 24 hours, the Triton is equipped with a sensor suite that provides a 360-degree view of its surroundings for over 2000 nautical miles.
The Triton builds on elements of the Global Hawk UAS, with reinforcements to the airframe and wing.
This incident will likely escalate tensions further.