Military Conducts Daily Surveillance of US Warships

Military Conducts Daily Surveillance of US WarshipsMilitary Conducts Daily Surveillance of US Warships

US naval forces operating in and around the Strait of Hormuz, a critical shipping lane, are "routinely approached by Iranian warships and aircraft" on a "nearly daily basis," according to a Pentagon official familiar with operations in the region.

During these interactions between US and Iranian forces, American aircraft and ships are routinely photographed by the Iranians for intelligence purposes, according to the official, who said most confrontations between the sides are "conducted in a safe and professional manner," Business Insider reported on Tuesday.

The disclosure of these daily run-ins comes following the release of footage by the Iranian military showing a reconnaissance mission over a US aircraft carrier in the Strait of Hormuz.

The clip, which was filmed at the end of August, shows US personnel aboard the ship and shots of US warplanes stationed on it.

Islamic Revolution Guards Corps "drones have carried out such missions many times; although the drone remains for a long time above the [American crew's] heads, they didn't notice it," Iranian media reported at the time, according to a translation by the Middle East Media Research Institute. "In some cases, [the American crew] did notice the IRGC drone awhile after the filming and tried to drive it off by sending a helicopter or fighter jet after it."

  Professional Interaction

When asked about the veracity of the clip, a Pentagon official said Iran conducts surveillance missions on a routine basis.

"US Naval forces are routinely approached by Iranian warships and aircraft as they operate in the region, with the majority of all interaction by the Iranians conducted in a safe and professional manner," the official said. "This happens on a near daily basis."

"The Iranians' primary purpose for approaching US forces is for ISR [Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance] so these interactions are almost always characterized by the presence of Iranian photographers capturing photos and video," the official added.

The United States also films these encounters, the official noted. "During these interactions we, too, capture imagery for the record," the official said. "Safe, professional and routine interactions are of no concern."