Iranian Fighters Fail to Down Unarmed US Drone over Persian Gulf
MQ-1 Predator Drone Georgian Air Force SU-25 B Frongfoot
Two aging Iranian Sukhoi (SU) -25sfailed to down an unarmed US MQ-1 ‘military’ drone over the Persian during an episode on November 1st . Iran’s Air Force acquired seven of the SU-25’s as a ‘gift’ from the Iraqis when they were flown across the border to Iran during the First Gulf war. Iran subsequently acquired several more. It has approximately 13 of the Soviet-designed close air support aircraft developed and produced starting in the mid-1970. The Pentagon conveniently released the report of this unsuccessful engagement today amid speculation that the White House didn’t want the publicity during the run to Tuesday’s Presidential election. It indicated that the Unarmed Predator drone was on a ‘routine surveillance mission”.
Two Iranian jets recently tried and failed to shoot down an unarmed MQ-1 Predator drone flying a surveillance mission over the Persian Gulf, the Pentagon disclosed Thursday. Despite the best efforts of Iranian pilots, the slow-flying robot returned to its Middle Eastern base unharmed.
The incident took place on Nov. 1 just before 5 a.m. Washington time, Pentagon chief spokesman George Little revealed on Thursday. The Predator was conducting a “routine surveillance” mission 16 nautical miles off the coast of Iran when two Iranian Su-25 Frogfoot attack jets, which usually shoot at targets on the ground, “intercepted” the drone. The Iranian pilots engaged in something of a 21st-century dogfight, turning their 30-mm guns on the Predator on at least two passes.
The dogfight turned out to be lopsided. Not only did the Predator lack the weaponry to return fire, it probably couldn’t have, as the drones don’t typically carry air-to-air missiles. But in any event, the Iranian pilots missed the drone outright. “The MQ-1 was not hit, and returned to its base safely,” Little said. At all times, Little emphasized, the drone was over international waters and never entered Iranian airspace.
The Danger Room commented on the speculation about timing of today’s announcement by the Pentagon:
It’s curious why the Pentagon is disclosing the incident now. Little dismissed suggestions that the White House, which was notified of the incident at the time, wanted to keep the weird quasi-dogfight out of the news until after Tuesday’s election. It may also be worth mentioning that the attack comes around the same time as a huge U.S.-Israeli training exercise designed to practice shooting down Iranian missiles.
The Danger Room previously reported that US fighter aircraft had shot down Iran drones over Iraq in 2009 but lost a stealth RQ-170 Sentinel drone over Iran in 2011, prominently displayed in Tehran by Iranian Islamic President Ahmadinejad. Reza Kahlili in a World Net Daily report in late October indicated that President Obama alleged chose not to destroy the RQ-170 when it wandered into Iranian airspace and allegedly crashed. A Reuters report had statements by an Iranian Member of Parliament that an Iranian drone shot down by the Israeli Air Force allegedly sent back imagery of secret facilities before it was intercepted and destroyed.