An Iranian F-4 fighter unsuccessfully tried this week to intercept an unarmed American MQ-1 Predator remotely piloted aircraft over international waters in the Arabian Gulf, said Pentagon Press Secretary George Little on Thursday. The incident occurred on March 12 when the Predator was conducting a routine surveillance flight and the Iranians sent the F-4 to intercept it. “The closest point of approach between these aircraft was approximately 16 miles,” said Little. The Iranian jet broke off the pursuit after a verbal warning from two US military aircraft escorting the Predator. “All US aircraft remained over international waters at all times,” said Little. Back in November, an Iranian Su-25 fired on a Predator that was also flying in international airspace above the gulf, but missed. The US government said at the time these surveillance missions would continue. (AFPS report by Jim Garamone)
In a nighttime ceremony contrived to continue concealment of many of its features, the new B-21 bomber rolled out of Northrop Grumman's Palmdale, Calif. plant Dec. 2. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the aircraft's advanced technology represents "deterrence, the American way."