The Pentagon just held a very short press conference. Via telephone Lt General Joseph T. Guastella from the U.S. Central Command made a very short statement. No questions were allowed.
He said that the drone was in international airspace at high attitude and “34 kilometer from the nearest point of the Iranian coast” when it was shot down.
That is trickery, or if you will trigonometry.
High attitude means that the drone flew at a height of around 60,000+ feet or 20 kilometer. If it would have flown directly over the Iranian coastline it would have been “20 kilometer from the nearest point of the Iranian coast”.
? = square root of ( 34 x 34 – 20 x 20) = 27.5 kilometer
National maritime zones and national air zone are measured in nautical miles: 27km / 1.852 = 14.85 nautical miles.
The length of the adjacent BC, i.e. the legal distance of the drone to the Iranian coast, was 14.85 miles. That is at least according to the CentCom talking head.
Iran’s national maritime zone, which equals the national airspace limit, is 12 nautical miles from its coast. The U.S. navy claims that its drone was a tiny bit further away.
This map was shown during the Pentagon briefing.
Now compare it with this map that shows the maritime borders of Iran, Oman and the UAE in the Straits of Hormuz.
There is no international airspace in the tightest, northern part of the Straits of Hormuz. There is only the national airspace of Iran and Oman. If what the CentCom map shows is the correct location of the drone, which had come from the south, it was in the mid of a blind alley of international airspace flying towards its end.
The drone was the RQ-4N BAMS-D. It was the U.S. navy owned prototype for the new MQ-4C Trition type of the Global Hawk that is currently build. The RQ-4N was unique. It used an old Global Hawk frame packed with new electronic equipment. It was used as the test bed for the gigantic data hoover that the Triton will be. But it was also a piece of equipment that was hard to maintain and that had served its purpose. The first of the hew drones will be delivered this summer. The RQ-4N was arguably expandable.
The Iranian IRGC says that the drone had switched off its transponder shortly after take off. A look at the usual live air traffic sites confirms that the drone was not tracked by the civil aviation systems which monitor transponder signals.
The U.S. airforce, which each day flies reconnaissance missions near potentially hostile countries, always keeps its transponders on. The transponder signal demonstrates that it has no hostile intent. It prevents accidental air defense engagements. It also allows it to prove that it stays outside of foreign national airspace.
The U.S. has threatened Iran with war and regime change for some 40 years. There is currently a crisis caused by Trumps violation of the nuclear deal with Iran. If the CentCom claim is correct the Navy drone flew extremely near to Iran’s border, seconds away from entering it, in a way the Iran had reason to interpret as ould well interpret as hostile. Iran released a video that supposedly shows the shoot down.
Iran says that the drone entered Iranian airspace. I find that to be likely correct. CentCom is not known for telling the truth and the list of proven hostile drone entries into Iranian air space is quite long.
Trump just held a press conference in the Oval Office. He seemed to play down (vid) the event. He empathized that the drone was unmanned. He said he had “a big, big feeling” that “someone made a mistake”, that “some Iranian general probably made a mistake”. That means that he does not accuse the government of Iran of the shoot down, but some lowly grunt who “might have made a mistake.”
That statement gives him room to avoid a large retaliation.
Someone made a mistake? So what.
Source: Moon of Alabama