Photo: Lockheed Martin
The testing of the Navy’s new long-range, high-altitude surveillance drone may be done from Japan, but its operators are looking to Iran, and counting the days until they can assign it to the Fifth Fleet in the Persian Gulf.Seth Robson at Stars and Stripes reports the unnamed drone currently called the Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS) system may help keep an eye on the Iranian Navy and its possibly nefarious plans for U.S. forces in the region.
The BAMS will likely be a modified RQ-4 Global Hawk (pictured here) with modified radar, powerful cameras, and infra-red sensors allowing it to track hundreds of ships at any one time — it’s expected to enter service in 2015.
Robson points out that BAMS will help spot Iranian submarines, missiles, and small boats which are known for swarming U.S. ships in the area.
The Iranian Navy, the smallest branch of the country’s military, is traditionally tasked with protecting Iran’s coastline and ports; but last week’s naval exercises seemed to illustrate that the Navy may be taking a more aggressive stance in the Gulf following the most recent round of sanctions imposed by the U.S.
Tehran’s Navy is made up largely of domestically produced vessels with ships from North Korea, China, and Russia thrown in as well.
Its three largest destroyers are more than 50 years old and have been in service since Iran rebuilt its Navy following Word War II.
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