An Iranian naval patrol boat shined a laser at a U.S. Marine Corps helicopter flying over the Strait of Hormuz in what U.S. officials said was an unsafe encounter.
U.S. Navy Commander Bill Urban, a U.S. Fifth Fleet spokesman, said on June 14 that the Marine CH-53E Super Stallion heavy-lift helicopter automatically fired flares in response to the laser. No one was injured, he said.
Urban said the Iranian action was considered unsafe because "illuminating helicopters with lasers at night is dangerous as it creates a navigational hazard that can impair vision and can be disorienting to pilots using night vision goggles."
The Iranian vessel also turned its spotlight on two Navy ships that the helicopter was accompanying as they moved through the strait on June 13, Urban said.
He said the Iranian boat came within 800 yards of the USS Bataan, an amphibious assault ship, and scanned it from bow to stern with the spotlight. It also shined the light on the USS Cole, a guided missile destroyer.
There was no damage to the ships, he said.