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Iranian P-3C Orion Aircraft Flew Dangerously Close To U.S. Navy Warships

Iranian P-3C Orion Aircraft Flew Dangerously Close To U.S. Navy Warships
U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Michael H. Lehman

GULF OF OMAN (Nov. 11, 2019) The U.S. Navy has released images that shows an Iranian P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft flew dangerously close to the dry cargo and ammunition ship USNS Alan Shepard (T-AKE 3) during a replenishment-at-sea with the guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG 60) in the Gulf of Oman.

USS Normandy is part of the East Coast Surface Action Group and is operating in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations in support of naval operations to ensure maritime stability and security in the Central Region, connecting the Mediterranean and Pacific through the western Indian Ocean and three strategic choke points.

An Iranian P-3 Orion flew several times near USNS Alan Shepard and USS Normandy. It is reported that the incident happened on 11 November.

The dry-cargo and ammunition ship USNS Alan Shepard (T-AKE 3) sends supply pallets and fuel to the guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG 60) during an underway replenishment.

The P-3 Orion is a land-based, long-range, anti-submarine warfare patrol aircraft. In operation since the 1960s, its known as the workhorse of the fleet.

Lockheed produced the P-3F variant of the P-3 Orion, for Iran. Six examples were delivered to the former Imperial Iranian Air Force (IIAF) in 1975 and 1976.

Following the Iranian Revolution in 1979, the Orions continued in service, after the IIAF was renamed the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force (IRIAF).

They were used in the Tanker War phase of the Iran–Iraq War and were operated by one of the most successful squadrons of the IRIAF during that conflict. A total of four P-3Fs remain in service.

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