US, UK hold drone training in Persian Gulf after Iran seizure

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The US Navy held a joint drone reconnaissance exercise with Britain on Friday in the Persian Gulf to test the same drones seized by Iran twice in recent months in the Middle East. Did.

The exercise came on the heels of the U.S. Navy warning commercial shippers in the Middle East to continue using drones in the region and not interfere with their operations.

The drone training and pledge that the United States will continue to operate drones comes amid heightened tensions between the United States and Iran at sea. Negotiations stall over tattered nuclear deal with world powers and Protests hit Islamic Republic.

Friday’s exercise involved two US and two British warships in the Persian Gulf and three Sail Drone Explorers, Cmdr said. Timothy Hawkins, spokesman for the Navy’s Middle East-based 5th Fleet.

The drones searched for targets at sea and transmitted still images captured by the cameras back to the warship and the 5th Fleet Headquarters of the Kingdom of Bahrain. There, an artificial intelligence system processed the photos.

The 5th Fleet launched Unmanned Task Force 59 last year.Drones used by the Navy include ultra-durable air surveillance drones, surface vessels such as the Seahawk and Seahunter, and small underwater drones that resemble torpedoes.

But of particular interest to the Navy is the Sail Drone Explorer. This is a commercial drone that can remain at sea for long periods of time. This is crucial for a region with about 8,000 kilometers (5,000 miles) of coastline from the Suez Canal to the Red Sea, the Gulf of Oman, the Strait of Hormuz and the Persian Gulf.

It is a vast territory that extends the reach of the Navy and its allies, A series of attacks amid the collapse of the nuclear dealIt also remains important to global shipping and energy supplies, as one-fifth of all oil trade passes through the Strait of Hormuz.

“No matter what power you have, you can’t cover it all,” Hawkins told the Associated Press. “We have to do it in innovative ways with our partners.”

But Iran, which has long equated a US presence in the region with patrolling the Gulf of Mexico, views the drones with suspicion. In August and September, Iran’s regular army and militias both seized Seildron. persian gulf When Red Sea, He claimed without providing evidence that the drones posed a danger to nearby ships.

Iran eventually released the drone after the US Navy arrived on the scene. A sail drone camera involved in the Red Sea Incident has gone missing.

Iranian state media denied Friday’s drills. Iran’s mission to the United Nations did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“Despite recent events, we operate these systems safely, responsibly and in accordance with international law and will continue to do so,” Hawkins said.

The Navy highlighted its plans to continue operating drones in a notice sent to shippers and sailors in the region beginning Thursday. Drones said they would continue to broadcast their locations via automatic identification system trackers.

Vessels are required to keep their AIS trackers on, but as Tehran faces international sanctions over its nuclear program and human rights abuses, Iranian vessels regularly turn them off to conceal their movements.

“The U.S. Navy (Drones) is the property of the U.S. government and operates lawfully through the high seas and straits in accordance with internationally recognized rights and freedoms,” the Navy said in a notice. “Interference with the U.S. Navy (drone) is considered a violation of international maritime law norms.”


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