U.S. Navy Surveillance Drone Shot Down by Iran is RQ-4A Global Hawk BAMS-D, Not MQ-C Triton: Confirms CENTCOM

The U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) has confirmed that a U.S. Navy high-altitude surveillance drone was shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile system while operating in international airspace over the Strait of Hormuz at approximately 11:35 p.m. GMT on June 19, 2019.

Earlier reports stated that the drone was an MQ-C Triton but the CENTCOM statement said that the drone was a U.S. Navy Broad Area Maritime Surveillance-Demonstrator (or BAMS-D) ISR aircraft.

The BAMS-D is a RQ-4A Global Hawk High-Altitude Long Endurance (HALE) Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) and provides real-time intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions (ISR) over vast ocean and coastal regions. These aircraft are older U.S. Air Force airframes transferred to the Navy to act as a demonstrator for the technologies used onboard MQ-C Triton.

According to Navy Capt. Bill Urban, U.S. Central Command spokesman, “the Iranian reports that the aircraft was over Iran are false” and the incident was an “unprovoked attack on a U.S. surveillance asset in international airspace”.

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