An Iranian drone came dangerously close to a U.S. Navy F/A-18 as it was preparing to land on the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf on Tuesday, according to U.S. Naval Forces Central Command.
Despite numerous radio calls, the drone repeatedly changed altitude and came within 100 vertical feet of the jet. The close call, while the jet was flying in international airspace, forced the aircraft to maneuver to avoid collision.
This the 13th unsafe and or unprofessional interaction between American and Iranian maritime forces this year, according to a statement from the U.S. Naval Forces Central Command.
The aircraft from the Nimitz are conducting regular sorties for Operation Inherent Resolve in Iraq and Syria, but a U.S. military official could not say whether this jet was returning from one of those missions.
The drone "created a collision hazard," U.S. Naval Forces Central Command said, adding that the actions were "not in keeping with maritime customs and laws."
Courtney Kube is a correspondent covering national security and the military for the NBC News Investigative Unit.