Iranian boat shines laser at US aircraft in Strait of Hormuz
15 Juin, 2017, 03:21 | Author: Claudine Rigal
Three U.S. Naval ships and a U.S. Marine Corps helicopter had an unsafe interaction Tuesday with an Iranian Navy vessel in global waters of the Strait of Hormuz.
Naval Forces Central Command, which oversees USA naval operations in the region, said the shining of the laser at the helicopter is what made them consider the incident unsafe and unprofessional. Urban, a U.S. Fifth Fleet spokesman, said the Iranian boat came within 800 yards of the USS Bataan, an amphibious assault ship, and scanned it from bow to stern with the spotlight.
The incident, first reported by CBS News, happened as the amphibious assault ship USS Bataan, guided-missile destroyer USS Cole and dry cargo ship USNS Washington Chambers transited global waters the Strait of Hormuz accompanied by a CH-53E helicopter, according to the statement.
The laser targeting led the Marine helicopter to automatically discharge flares as a defensive measure said a USA official.
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It isn't the first time the United States and Iranian navies have been involved in a tense standoff in the Persian Gulf.
The Pentagon periodically voices concern over incidents in waters off Iran, accusing the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and naval ships of conducting risky maneuvers around USA vessels. No one was injured and there was no damage to the ships.
Urban explained that illuminating helicopters with lasers at night is unsafe because it creates a navigational hazard that can impair vision and disorient pilots who are using night-vision goggles.
U.S. Navy vessels routinely have encounters with small Iranian craft as they transit through the Strait of Hormuz. The 2016 events all occurred in the first half of the year.
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