American military helicopter AH-1Z Viper, which was sent to the Gulf region as part of US efforts to deter Tehran’s seizures of commercial tanker ships, was repeatedly a target of laser attack by Iranian naval forces during a routine flight in international airspace over the region.
The US military said on Thursday that Iranian vessels shone a laser multiple times at the US military helicopter, which is part of the unit deployed on the USS Bataan amphibious assault ship, while in flight on Wednesday.
The army spokesman Commander Rick Chernitzer said in a statement that such unsafe, unprofessional, and irresponsible behaviour by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Navy is not the actions of a professional maritime force and risks the lives of the US and partner nation troops so it must cease immediately.
The US began deploying Marines and additional forces to the Middle East in mid-July in response to increased aggression in the Persian Gulf and surrounding waters from Iranian Navy and IRGC vessels.
Over the past two years, Iranian Navy vessels have either seized or attempted to take control of nearly 20 internationally flagged ships in the Gulf region.