Iran shot down a $130 million US Air Force drone near the Strait of Hormuz Thursday morning, risking a full-on shooting war in the already volatile region. The unprovoked attack follows a week of rising tension after Iranian terrorists damaged two oil tankers with explosive charges last Thursday.
Since the tanker attacks, US and British forces in the Persian Gulf have been on full alert and reinforcements are on their way. A key response is an increase in surveillance over the Strait of Hormuz, a 21-mile-wide channel that 20% of the world’s oil shipments have to pass through. By threatening tankers, Iran can cause massive damage to the world economy; the West can’t let that happen.
Unmanned Air Vehicles (drones) like the RQ-4 Global Hawk offer incredible opportunities for air surveillance. With the ability to remain in the air for up to 32 hours, this massive aircraft uses sophisticated sensors to scan and collect information from huge zones — even from outside of an enemy’s protected airspace, in some cases.
The RQ-4 isn’t stealthy or fast. It wasn’t designed to penetrate hostile airspace, so it’s difficult to believe Iran’s claims. Why would US forces enter airspace if the drone could monitor from outside of territorial borders?
If Iran plans to attack more tankers, they need to get rid of any surveillance first. They don’t want a Global Hawk catching them in the act, and clearly, they’re willing to attack US forces in order to achieve their goals.
Officials aren’t yet sure how Iran’s Revolutionary Guard brought down the drone. While Iran did claim it was flying inside their airspace, the US military denies these claims. Iran is essentially challenging US leaders to respond – and you can be sure they will.
As for how we might meet the challenge, don’t worry about our ability to respond. President Trump already has the situation well in hand.
Iran made a very big mistake!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 20, 2019
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