Iran Used One-Way UAVs In Attack On Vessel, Blinken Says

USS Ronald Reagan
Credit: U.S. Navy

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Aug. 1 that an Iranian unmanned air vehicle (UAV) attacked an Israeli-managed oil tanker in the Arabian Sea and killed two crew members. 

The attack on the vessel, the Mercer Street, by a “one-way explosive UAV” on July 30 is a “lethal capability [Iran] is increasingly employing throughout the region,” Blinken said in a statement. 

An “appropriate response” is being discussed by the U.S. government with partners in the region and beyond, Blinken said. 

“There is no justification for this attack, which follows a pattern of attacks and other belligerent behavior,” he added. 

Two U.S. Navy vessels—the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier and the USS Mitscher destroyer—are escorting the stricken oil tanker, which is underway on its own power, according to a press release by Fifth Fleet headquarters. 

Unconfirmed images posted on social media show a large hole in the main deck of the oil tanker. 

In September 2019, U.S. officials also blamed Iran for an attack by cruise missiles and one-way UAVs on Saudi Arabian oil facilities.

Steve Trimble

Steve covers military aviation, missiles and space for the Aviation Week Network, based in Washington DC.