On June 20, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) released a video showing the moment when its air-defense units shot down an RQ-4A Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) of the U.S. Navy off Iranain shores.
The video shows an Iranian-made Khordad-3 air-defense system launching what appears to be a Sayyad-2C anti-aircraft missile. A clear hit can be seen in the video, which was recorded in the early hours of the morning.
While the Khordad-3 system is designed after the Soviet Buk missile system, the Sayyad-2C is actually an Iranian copy of the US-made RIM-66 Standard missile, which was in service with the Iranian Navy prior to the Islamic Revolution of 1979.
The Sayyad-2C has a range of 75km and a top altitude of 30. This explains how it was able to hit the RQ-4A Global Hawk that has a service ceiling of 18km only. The missile is believed to be guided by semi-active radar homing (SARH), just like the original RIM-66.
Earlier, the U.S. military revealed that the RQ-4A copy which was shot down by Iran was a part of the U.S. Navy’s Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS) program. Global Hawk’s variants developed under this program were designed to provide the Navy with real-time intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities over vast ocean and coastal regions.
Iran claimed that the UAV violated its airspace over the southern district of Jask County. However, the U.S. rejected these claims and said that the UAV was flying in international airspace.
The U.S. is now reportedly considering a military response to downing to the RQ-4A. Such a military action could lead to a dangerous confrontation in the Persian Gulf.