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US surveillance drone approached by Iranian fighter jet, Pentagon says

An unmanned, unarmed U.S. surveillance drone was approached by an Iranian F-4 fighter jet on Tuesday, the Pentagon disclosed Thursday. The Iranian jet got as close as 16 miles.

The drone, an MQ-1, was escorted by two U.S. military aircraft, Pentagon press secretary George Little said in a statement. “One of the U.S. aircraft discharged a flare as a warning to the Iranian plane, which then broke off pursuit,” the statement said.

The American jets and surveillance plane were over international waters “at all times, it said.

In November, two Iranian jets fired 30-millimeter cannons at an unarmed U.S. military Predator drone conducting surveillance in the Arabian Gulf. The jets “fired to take it down,” Little said at the time. The drone was not struck and returned to base safely. Following the incident, the U.S. said its military would continue surveillance flights over international waters of the Arabian Gulf.