In a statement issued early Thursday, the IRGC said the US-made Global Hawk surveillance drone was brought down by its Air Force near the Kouh-e Mobarak region — which sits in the central district of Jask County — after the aircraft violated Iranian airspace, presstv.ir reported.
The statement added that further details will be released about the operation later.
Reacting to the news, the US military claimed it did not fly over Iranian airspace on Wednesday.
“No US aircraft were operating in Iranian airspace today,” said Navy Captain Bill Urban, a spokesman for the American military’s Central Command.
However, a US official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to the Associated Press, confirmed on Thursday that an American military drone had been shot down in “international airspace” over the Strait of Hormuz by an Iranian surface-to-air missile.
He identified the drone as a US Navy MQ-4C Triton, which builds on elements of the RQ-4 Global Hawk with minor changes.
The RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aircraft system (UAS) can fly at high altitudes for more than 30 hours, gathering near-real-time, high-resolution imagery of large areas of land in all types of weather, maker Northrop Grumman says on its website.
The Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Triton is a maritime derivative of the RQ-4B Global Hawk and the airborne element of the US Navy’s Broad Area Maritime Surveillance Unmanned Aircraft System (BAMS UAS).
Iran has said that the country’s aerial, maritime and land borders constitute a red line.
Speaking on the sidelines of a security forum in Russia on Tuesday, Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Shamkhani stressed that the country would exercise all its efforts to defend its territorial waters and airspace.
Tensions have been running between Iran and the US in recent weeks, with Washington stepping up its provocative military moves in the Middle East.
Last month, Washington dispatched an aircraft carrier strike group, a bomber task force, and an amphibious assault ship to the Persian Gulf, citing an alleged Iranian threat.
On Monday, the Pentagon announced that the US will send 1,000 additional US forces and more military resources to the Middle East.
Tehran believes the US has a hand in a set of suspicious regional incidents in recent weeks, such as the June 13 attacks against oil tankers in the Sea of Oman, in a bid to pin the blame on Iran and put more pressure on the country.
Last week, UN sources revealed that the United States was planning to carry out a “tactical assault” on an Iranian nuclear facility in response to the alleged Iranian role in the tanker attacks.