Iran has threatened to shoot down two US spy planes, flying within a mile of Iranian airspace.
On Saturday, Tehran has threatened to shoot down two US reconnaissance aircraft, flying in close proximity to the Iranian border, the Fox News TV-channel reported, citing three sources in the defense sphere, familiar with the situation.
According to the TV-channel, on September 11, the P-8 Poseidon aircraft, carrying nine people, and the EP-3 Eries warplane with a crew of 24 people flew 13 miles off the coast of Iran (the state’s territorial waters extend to 12 nautical miles from the coast), in the Strait of Hormuz and Gulf of Oman..
During the flight, Iranian military said the Americans on a radio that they risk to be shot down. The pilots ignored the warnings and continued to fly in international airspace, although very close to the Iranian territory.
“We wanted to test the Iranian reaction,” a representative of the US Defense Department told Fox News when asked why the US jets were flying close to Iran. “It is one thing to tell someone to get off your lawn, but we were not on their lawn. Anytime you threaten to shoot someone down, it’s not considered professional,” the source said.
Although, US military characterized Tehran’s behavior as ‘unprofessional,’ Washington is not sure that Iranian position was a threat, as air defense systems have not been seen in the area.
Earlier this month, Brigadier General Abdollah Reshadi said that the Iranian Air Defense Force constantly monitors the skies nationwide to observe and detect hostile activity.
“[Our] radar coverage of the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman detects aerial traverse by [reconnaissance] aircraft,” Reshadi said. “We detect any flying activity in time and deliver tactical response in less than two minutes.”
Earlier, the US has repeatedly complained that Iranian boats approached too close to US ships in the Persian Gulf – at least one time, Navy men had to open warning fire on the water.