UPDATE: The Central Command (CENTCOM) said that Iran had downed a RQ-4A Global Hawk.
The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has shot down an advanced U.S. unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that violated Iran’s airspace.
In a statement posted on the IRGC’s news website Sepah News, the Guards said that the U.S. UAV was brought down on June 20 by its Air Force over the central district of Jask County.
“It [the UAV] was shot down when it entered Iran’s airspace near the Kouhmobarak district in the south,” the website added.
U.S. officials confirmed to Reuters, Fox News and the Associated Press that the Iran shoot down an MQ-4C Triton of the U.S. Navy after denying the IRGC’s claims for a few hours. However, the officials claimed that the UAV was downed over the Strait of Hormuz.
The Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Triton, presented only a year ago, was developed to provide the U.S. Navy with real-time intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions (ISR) over vast ocean and coastal regions. The UAV has a range of more than 15,000km and an endurance of up to 30 hours.
The MQ-4C Triton was designed to operate at extremely high altitudes, up to 18km. It remains unclear how the IRGC was able to shot it down and with what weapon.
The downing of the UAV will likely escalate the already high tension between Washington and Tehran, especially that a single MQ-4C UAV could cost a whopping $120 million.