20 Jun

President Trump tweets Iran made ‘big mistake’ after shooting down US drone

Trump tweets Iran made ‘big mistake’ after shooting down US drone
President Trump tweeted Thursday that Iran made a “VERY BIG MISTAKE” by shooting down a U.S. spy drone in the already tense oil-rich region.Hours earlier, U.S. officials said an Iranian surface-to-air missile shot down the unmanned military surveillance drone. “IRANIAN REPORTS THAT THE AIRCRAFT WAS OVER IRAN ARE FALSE,” the U.S. Central Command said in a statement. “THIS WAS AN UNPROVOKED ATTACK ON A U.S. SURVEILLANCE ASSET IN INTERNATIONAL AIRSPACE.”
Fortunately, the U.S. Navy “flight crew” of this Triton was operating it from Naval Air Station Jacksonville, in Florida, with ground crews in the Middle East for launch, recovery and maintenance. The Tritons have a lot of automatic features but they don’t fly themselves except in back-up mode.
Still, the unprovoked attack on the U.S. Navy Triton was unquestionably an escalation by Iran.
The Triton was on the look-out for Iranian naval attacks, and it was guarding commercial shipping, US and allied naval vessels. The Triton is not your backyard drone. It’s really an unmanned plane derived from the U.S. Air Force RQ-4 Global Hawk and optimized for maritime work. The MQ-4 Triton has a wingspan of 130 feet and at 32,000 lbs., it weighs as much as a city bus or Class 7 truck.
Was the Triton in international airspace? Probably. The Triton didn’t need to loop over Iran’s land mass to carry out its overwater mission.
And get this. Triton is unarmed. This surveillance asset posed absolutely no threat of any kind to Iran. Except, of course, for revealing Iran’s naval activity.
More than any other single factor, Iran’s military activity is breaking apart the 2015 nuclear deal. Iran has acted foolishly, again.
Claiming the Triton shoot-down is yet another sign that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard under the direct command of the Ayatollah is spoiling for a fight.
This shoot-down and Iran’s celebration of it will help the Trump administration make the case with Great Britain, France and Germany that Iran can’t be trusted.
Aerial surveillance is already making a difference. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has overruled her foreign minister and acknowledged “strong evidence” of Iran’s involvement in the tanker shipping attacks, according to Germany’s Deutsche Welle newspaper on June 18.
So the Triton, and its surveillance team-mates are doing their job well.

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