An F/A-18E Super Hornet takes off from the flight deck of the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Nimitz on October 29.
The F/A-18 maneuvered repeatedly to avoid the drone.
The unarmed Iranian QOM-1 drone approached, coming within 100 feet vertically and 200 feet laterally of the aircraft, ignoring radio calls to stay clear of aircraft operations.
Hours before the incident, the drone was about 4 nautical miles from the Nimitz at an altitude of about 7,000 feet, the official said.
The drone was not armed, a defense official said.
"The risky maneuver created a collision hazard and is not in keeping with worldwide maritime customs and laws", the statement said.
The Super Hornet belongs to Strike Fighter Squadron 147, which is deployed aboard the Nimitz from Naval Air Station Lemoore in California.
In a statement, U.S. Central Command declared the incident "unsafe and unprofessional", calling it was a breach of worldwide maritime customs and laws.
In July, a US Navy patrol ship fired warning shots at an Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps boat in the Gulf as it closed in on the American vessel.
The Navy has said the helicopter was on a routine patrol in global airspace and that the flare was sacked after American ships saw the Guard vessels approaching at a high rate of speed and not responding to communications.
A statement released by the U.S. Naval Forces Central Command said that the small drone's actions were unsafe and failed to follow worldwide maritime laws and customs.