This time an Iranian F-4 flew within 16 miles of an unarmed MQ-1 Predator before two U.S. military aircraft escorted the Predator and the F-4 darted away. The Pentagon did not say what type of aircraft escorted the Predator.
In November, an Iranian fighter jet fired up on an unarmed Predator, but missed. On Tuesday, there is no report that the F-4 fired upon the Predator.
The initial report from the Pentagon stated that one of the U.S. aircraft fired a warning flare before the F-4 ended its pursuit. However, Pentagon officials later said a flare was not fired. Below is the read out the Pentagon issued to announce the confrontation:
On March 12, an unarmed, unmanned, MQ-1 U.S. military aircraft conducting a routine classified surveillance flight over international waters in the Arabian Gulf was approached by an Iranian F-4 aircraft. The closest point of approach between these aircraft was approximately 16 miles.
The MQ-1 was escorted by two U.S. military aircraft. All U.S. aircraft remained over international waters at all times.
Following the incident last November where an Iranian fighter aircraft fired upon an unarmed, unmanned MQ-1, the United States communicated to the Iranians that we will continue to conduct surveillance flights over international waters consistent with long-standing practice and our commitment to the security of the region. We also communicated that we reserve the right to protect our military assets as well as our forces and will continue to do so going forward.