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Statement from US Central Command on attacks against U.S. observation aircraft

U.S. Central Command

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A U.S. MQ-9 was shot down over Yemen by what we assess to be a Houthi SA-6 surface to air missile on Jun 6, 2019. The altitude of the engagement indicated an improvement over previous Houthi capability, which we assess was enabled by Iranian assistance.

On June 13, 2019, according to our assessment, a modified Iranian SA-7 surface-to-air missile attempted to shoot down a U.S. MQ-9 over the Gulf of Oman to disrupt surveillance of the IRGC attack on the M/T Kokuka Courageous. The MQ-9 had arrived minutes earlier at 6:20 a.m. local time at the motor tanker (M/T) Altair and had observed the ship on fire. 

The SA-7 was ineffective and its closest point of approach to the MQ-9 was approximately one kilometer. 

Subsequent analysis indicates that this was a likely attempt to shoot down or otherwise disrupt the MQ-9 surveillance of the IRGC attack on the M/T Kokuka Courageous.

Lt. Col. Earl Brown, U.S. Central Command Spokesman