According to an unnamed US official cited by Reuters, a US Navy MQ-4C Triton had been shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile in international airspace over the Strait of Hormuz.
A report by the state-run IRNA news agency surfaced early Thursday, citing Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, and claimed that Iran had shot down a US Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk spy drone flying over Hormuzgan province.
The drone was downed when it entered Iranian airspace near the Kouhmobarak district in southern Iran’s Hormuzgan.
According to the statement, the Global Hawk had flown from one of the American bases in the southern parts of the Persian Gulf region at 00:14 a.m. local time, with its identification transponders off in breach of all international aviation rules.
The drone had been targeted and shot down by the IRGC at 04: 05 a.m. local time, it added.
Reacting to the news, the US military claimed it did not fly over Iranian airspace on Wednesday. The Pentagon has released no official comments.
However US Central Command spokesman Capt. Bill Urban earlier asserted that “There was no drone over Iranian territory,” according to AP.
The RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aircraft system (UAS) can fly at high altitudes for more than 30 hours, gathering near-real-time, high-resolution imagery of large areas of land in all types of weather, maker Northrop Grumman says on its website.
The Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Triton is a maritime derivative of the RQ-4B Global Hawk and the airborne element of the US Navy’s Broad Area Maritime Surveillance Unmanned Aircraft System (BAMS UAS).