An Iranian attack aircraft fired at least twice at an unarmed US drone conducting routine surveillance in international airspace over the Persian Gulf, the Pentagon said today. The aircraft missed, and the Predator drone returned to base unharmed. The Nov. 1 shooting is unprecedented, said Pentagon press secretary George Little. The drone was about 16 miles off the Iranian coast when a Russian-made warplane opened fire—the first time an unmanned US aircraft was shot at in international airspace over the Gulf, said Little.
"Our aircraft was never in Iranian air space," said Little. "It was always flying in international air space. The United States has communicated to the Iranians that we will continue to conduct surveillance flights over international waters over the Arabian Gulf, consistent with longstanding practice." Iran has not commented yet on the incident. This is the second incident involving a US drone and Iran. In December 2011, a Sentinel drone equipped with stealth technology was captured in eastern Iran. Tehran claims it brought down the aircraft, but US officials said the drone malfunctioned and had to land. (Read more Iran stories.)