US Navy refutes drone capture claim by Iran
Washington: Rebutting Iran’s claims about capturing an unmanned American drone, a US Navy spokesperson said on Tuesday that all unmanned air vehicles (UAV) operating in the Middle East region were fully accounted for and that no aircraft was lost over Gulf.
"We have no record that we have lost any ScanEagles recently”, a spokesperson for Navy’s 5th fleet based in Bahrain said.
“The US Navy has fully accounted for all unmanned air vehicles (UAV) operating in the Middle East region. Our operations in the Gulf are confined to internationally recognized water and air space," he added.
Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards had today claimed having downed an unmanned US drone ScanEagle after it allegedly entered Iranian airspace.
ScanEagle is a small, low-cost, but long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicle used by the US Navy.
It’s not the first time, Iran has claimed capturing one of the US drones.
Last month, Iran claimed that a US drone had violated its airspace. Pentagon said the unmanned aircraft came under fire — at least twice but was not hit — and that the Predator was over international waters.
The Nov. 1 shooting in the Gulf was unprecedented, and further escalated tensions between the United States and Iran, which is under international sanctions over its suspect nuclear program. Tehran denies it's pursuing a nuclear weapon and insists its program is for peaceful purposes only.
In 2011, Iran claimed it brought down a CIA spy drone after it entered Iranian airspace from its eastern borders with Afghanistan and Pakistan. The RQ-170 Sentinel drone, which is equipped with stealth technology, was captured almost intact. Tehran later said it recovered data from the top-secret drone.