A US Navy MQ-4C Triton unmanned aircraft system prepares to land at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., Sept. 18, 2014, after completing a cross-country flight from California. The Triton will conduct flight testing at Patuxent River in preparation for an operational deployment in 2017. (US Navy photo by Kelly Schindler

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US Navy/Kelly Schindler

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One US official recognized the drone as a US Navy MQ-4C Triton

A US army surveillance drone has been shot down by Iranian forces whereas flying over the Strait of Hormuz.

Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) stated the drone had violated Iranian airspace. However US army stated it had been over worldwide waters.

IRGC commander-in-chief Maj-Gen Hossein Salami stated the downing of the drone despatched a “clear message to America” that Iran’s borders had been its “crimson line”.

It comes at a time of escalating stress between the US and Iran.

On Monday, the US defence division stated it was deploying 1,000 additional troops to the area in response to “hostile behaviour” by Iranian forces.

The US has additionally accused Iran of attacking two oil tankers with mines final Thursday simply exterior the Strait of Hormuz, within the Gulf of Oman. Iran rejects the allegation.

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Media captionThe BBC’s Mark Lowen will get shut entry to stricken oil tanker

It was the second time in a month tankers have been attacked shut within the area, by which a fifth of the world’s oil passes every day.

Tensions had been additional fuelled on Monday when Iran introduced its stockpile of low-enriched uranium would subsequent week exceed limits it agreed with world powers below a landmark nuclear deal in 2015.

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Iran stepped up its manufacturing in response to tightening financial sanctions from the US, which unilaterally withdrew from the deal final 12 months.

What occurred on Thursday?

The IRGC stated its air power shot down the US drone within the early hours of Thursday after the unmanned plane violated Iranian airspace close to Kuhmobarak within the southern province of Hormozgan.

The drone was recognized by the IRGC as a RQ-Four International Hawk, however the US army official instructed Reuters information company the drone was a US Navy MQ-4C Triton, a maritime patrol and reconnaissance plane primarily based on the RQ-4B International Hawk.

Later, in a speech carried dwell on Iranian state TV, Gen Salami warned the US that it wanted to respect Iran’s territorial integrity and nationwide safety.

“The downing of the American drone was a transparent message to America… our borders are our crimson line and we are going to react strongly towards any aggression.”

He added: “Iran shouldn’t be looking for conflict with any nation, however we’re totally ready to defend Iran.”

First direct incident of disaster

That is the primary direct incident of the present disaster involving the US and Iranian militaries and is a strong reminder of the risks of escalation within the Gulf.

So far as the Iranians are involved, the downing of the drone was meant to ship a transparent and express message to the People – “our borders are our crimson line” – a degree underscored by the IRGC’s commander-in-chief.

So there isn’t a doubting who shot down the US drone, an MQ-4C Triton. It’s a huge plane with a wing-span equal to a small airliner. However the two sides differ as to the place it occurred. The Iranians say it was of their airspace; the People say that it was not.

Based on some reviews, US President Donald Trump himself is raring to dial down the stress, fearing a spill-over into outright battle. However that is simply the form of incident that might provoke simply such a cycle of motion and response.

Is that this the primary time Iran has focused a US drone?

Final week, the US army accused Iran of trying to shoot down a US MQ-9 Reaper armed drone with a surface-to-air missile in an try and disrupt surveillance of one of many tankers that was attacked, the Kokuka Brave.

The drone had earlier noticed a fireplace on board the opposite tanker, the Entrance Altair.

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Media captionWhy does the Strait of Hormuz matter?

The earlier week, one other US MQ-9 Reaper was shot down over Yemen by a surface-to-air missile fired by the Iran-backed insurgent Houthi motion.

The US army stated the altitude of the engagement “indicated an enchancment over earlier Houthi functionality, which we assess was enabled by Iranian help”. Iran denies offering weapons to the Houthis.

In 2011, Iran stated it had captured a US RQ-170 Sentinel reconnaissance drone that had been reported misplaced by US forces in neighbouring Afghanistan. It developed its personal model of the drone, one in every of which was shot down by Israel final 12 months.