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Source: Politico

Sep 28, 2023

‘Unsafe and unprofessional': U.S. chides Iran after American helicopter hit with lasers

No one was injured and the U.S. helicopter was not damaged.


By ERIC BAZAIL-EIMIL


Iranian vessels pointed lasers against a U.S. attack helicopter operating in the Persian Gulf on Wednesday, in what the U.S. military is calling “unsafe, unprofessional and irresponsible.”


According to a U.S. Navy statement, personnel aboard vessels belonging to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy pointed lasers at a U.S. Marine Corps AH-1Z Viper attack helicopter while in flight.


No one aboard was injured and the helicopter, which was operating from the amphibious assault ship USS Bataan, was not damaged, the statement said.


The helicopter was operating in international airspace and Iran’s actions were inappropriate, the statement said.


“These are not the actions of a professional maritime force,” said Cmdr. Rick Chernitzer, a spokesperson for U.S. Naval Forces Central Command.


“This unsafe, unprofessional, and irresponsible behavior by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy risks U.S. and partner nation lives and needs to cease immediately.”


Chernitzer added that naval forces will “remain vigilant and will continue to fly, sail and operate anywhere international law allows while promoting regional maritime security.”


This is the second time in six years that Iranian units have targeted a helicopter associated with the Bataan with lasers.


In 2017, an Iranian naval patrol boat used lasers against a Marine helicopter moving through the Strait of Hormuz with three U.S. vessels.


Iranian state media also reported in 2022 that the Iranian military was developing a laser cannon to shoot down aerial targets.



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