Iranian Drone Missions on the Rise in the Persian Gulf as Small Boat Harassment Drops

An undated picture of an Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy patrol craft.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Iranian drones have become increasingly active in the Persian Gulf and other critical waterways around the Middle East, regularly conducting surveillance flights close to U.S. warships crossing the Strait of Hormuz and operating around the region, a defense official told USNI News on Friday.

The revelation comes days after the U.S. 5th Fleet said that incidents of small Iranian fast boats harassing American ships in the Gulf have stopped altogether since August, after a 20-month period of increasing tension as they buzzed Navy ships on average of twice a month.

An American defense official confirmed to USNI News that Iranian QOM-1 drones – also known as the Shaheed 129, and capable of carrying weapons – have been conducting “one to two maritime flights per day” over the

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