BAHRAIN, Bahraq—Sources close to the Pentagon say a U.S. unmanned aerial vehicle shot down by Iran on Thursday had penetrated deep into Iranian airspace.
While the U.S. Navy claims the RQ-4A Global Hawk was in international airspace, multiple sources with knowledge of the incident say the UAV had thrust so far into the country that “Iran's sensors must have been going crazy.”
“The UAV initially was just limping around over international waters, but something caught its operator’s eye and turned him on,” said one source who asked to remain anonymous. “From that point, the aircraft kept pushing deeper and deeper into their territory with no Iranian response. We couldn’t tell if they noticed us in there or not.”
Leaked maps of the drone’s flight path show it taking off from a top secret location near Oman commonly known as "the grundle." It then warmed up by making two large loops over the Gulf of Oman and Arabian peninsula before taking a hard turn north into a soft gap in Iran’s missile defenses.
In comments that the Pentagon later retracted out of embarrassment, some officials in the immediate aftermath of the attack claimed that they "didn't mean to finish [the flight] inside of Iran so early" but that they were currently "executing Plan B" to address the situation.
This is not the first time U.S. aircraft have ventured into Iranian airspace. Smaller drones have been teasing and probing around the country’s borders for decades.
“Usually the Iranians don’t mind us getting a little action around the Strait of Hormuz. But this time we may have gone a little too far a little too fast, and we skipped the foreplay,” said the source. “Next time I think we’ll need to slow things down a bit and really listen to their needs.”
While Iran maintains that the UAV definitely intruded into its airspace, the country claims, “It wasn’t as deep in there as the U.S. would like to think it was.”
“While the drone did violate our sovereign airspace near the Gulf of Oman, we barely even noticed it was in there, and we definitely received no pleasure from it,” said Iranian Gen. Hossein Salami. “We were forced to shoot it down after it repeatedly ignored our warnings to pull out.”
At press time, Iran had not returned the U.S.’s phone calls to discuss the incident.
BYOBooyah contributed reporting.