Iranian ship targets laser at US helicopter in Strait of Hormuz

U.S. Navy labels incident "unsafe and unprofessional"

"Shortly thereafter, the Iranian vessel trained a laser on a CH-53E helicopter that accompanied the formation," said Urban. "The Iranian vessel then proceeded to turn its spotlight on Bataan, scanning the ship from bow to stern and stern to bow before heading outbound from the formation."

The closest the Iranian vessel got to the American ships was 800 yards.

Urban explained that "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 laser targeting led the Marine helicopter to automatically discharge flares as a defensive measure said a U.S. official.

U.S. Navy vessels routinely have encounters with small Iranian craft as they transit through the Strait of Hormuz.