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Iran tried to steal two more SailDrones from US Navy in Red Sea

Iran stealing US Navy drones in Middle East
Illustration: US Navy photo of Iran's first attempt to seize a SailDrone USV in the Persian Gulf on August 29

An Iranian warship briefly seized and detained two US unmanned surface vessels just two days after attempting to tow away the first one in the Persian Gulf between August 29 and 30.

On September 1, the Iranian Moudge-class frigate Jamaran (FFLG 76) seized two SailDrone USVs operating near one another in international waters in the Red Sea.

At around 2 p.m. (local time), US 5th Fleet detected the Iranian ship approaching both unmanned vessels and removing them from the water. US Navy guided-missile destroyers USS Nitze (DDG 94) and USS Delbert D. Black (DDG 119) were operating nearby and immediately responded. Nitze and Delbert D. Black also each launched an MH-60R Sea Hawk from Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 48.

Jamaran returned the vessels to the US Navy the next day.

Destroyers Nitze and Delbert D. Black remained on scene communicating with the Iranian warship to deescalate the situation and recover the seized Saildrones. The Iranian warship released the Saildrones at 8 a.m. on September 2.

The USVs were unarmed and taking unclassified photos of the surrounding environment while loitering in an assigned patrol area at least four nautical miles from the nearest maritime traffic lane, according to the US Navy.