Amphibious warship USS Boxer (LHD-4) took down an Iranian drone that U.S. officials say threatened the ship as it entered the Persian Gulf on Thursday.
At about 10 a.m. local time, Boxer was transiting Strait of Hormuz when an Iranian fixed-wing drone approached the ship, a defense official told USNI News.
The crew of the ship took “defensive action against the unmanned aerial system to ensure the safety of the ship and the crew,” the official said.
The official would not detail the method in which Boxer downed the drone. The ship is armed with RIM-7 Sea Sparrow short-range anti-ship missiles, and the RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) and Phalanx CIWS point defense weapons systems. Additionally, the Navy and the Marine Corps have begun to field a wide variety of non-kinetic systems capable of downing a drone by other means. News of the intercept first came from a press event at the White House in which President Donald Trump told reporters of the downing of the Iranian drone.
“This is the latest of many provocative and hostile actions against vessels operating in international waters,” Trump told reporters in the White House on Thursday afternoon.
The downing of the Iranian drone comes as the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy announced they had seized a UAE-owned, Panamanian-flagged tanker and follows reports of Iranian harassment of a British owned tanker last week.
Boxer has been operating in U.S. Central Command since mid-June with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit and two other amphibious warships.
The ARG includes Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD-4), San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock USS John P. Murtha (LPD-26) and Harpers Ferry-class dock landing ship USS Harpers Ferry (LSD-49).
The ARG left San Diego, Calif., on May 1 on a scheduled deployment. In addition to Boxer, the Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group has been patrolling in the Gulf of Oman and the North Arabian Sea since mid-May.
The presence of large fixed-wing Iranian drones near the Persian Gulf is not new, with carriers and other U.S. warships rotating through the region having interactions with them in recent years. However, the drones typically keep their distance, making sure the U.S. ships see them but not coming close enough to where ships have had to shoot them down.
Credit: USNI News