Iran News ...


12/12/11

Downed US Spy Drone Gives Iran Winning Card in Intelligence Trade

Source: Fars News Agency, Tehran

The hi-tech US stealth drone that was downed by Iran last week is of paramount importance in intelligence trade with the US foes as it can blunt the US technological edge over its adversaries.


Iran has displayed the captured U.S. drone

The unmanned surveillance RQ-170 plane lost by the United States in Iran was a stealth aircraft being used for secret missions by the CIA, US officials admitted earlier last week.

The aircraft is among the highly sensitive surveillance platform in the CIA's fleet that was shaped and designed to evade enemy defenses.

Current and former Washington defense officials said even the US military cannot use such a highly sophisticated stealth aircraft as the country is in relatively short supply and is only flown by the CIA.

Analysts believe that Iran's control over the aircraft was very costly to US since Iran can achieve the technology used in the device and develop a more advanced simulated model of it.

Hossein Sheikholeslam, an advisor to the Iranian parliament speaker, noted the unique features of the downed drone, and said, "It can play a key role in Iran's intelligence interactions with the US rivals."

"In this regards, it is considered as a great strategic and security achievement," he noted.

The RQ-170 has special coatings and a batwing shape designed to help it penetrate other nations' air defenses undetected. The existence of the aircraft, which is made by Lockheed Martin, has been known since 2009, when a model was photographed at the main US airfield in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Aerospace Forces Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh appeared on TV on Thursday evening to explain how Iranian forces downed the United States' highly advanced radar-evading spy drone.

"Recently, our collected intelligence and precise electronic monitoring revealed that this aircraft intended to infiltrate our country's airspace for spying missions," the General said, and added, "After it entered the Eastern parts of the country, this aircraft fell into the trap of our armed forces and was downed in Iran with minimum damage."

The drone is equipped with highly advanced surveillance, data gathering, electronic communication and radar systems, he continued.

"As far as its platform and coating are concerned, this kind of plane has been designed to evade radar systems and from the view point of technology it is amongst the most recent types of advanced aircraft used by the US," the IRGC commander added.

"The technology used in this aircraft had already been used in B2 and F35 planes," Hajizadeh said, and added, "This aircraft is controlled and guided through satellite link and land stations in Afghanistan and the Untied States."

"Military experts are well aware how precious the technological information of this drone is," he reiterated.

Among the United States' main concerns is that Iran could use an intact aircraft to examine the vulnerabilities in stealth technology and take countermeasures with its air defense systems. Another is that China or other US adversaries could help Iran extract data from the drone that would reveal its flight history, surveillance targets and other capabilities.

The drone was programmed to destroy such data in the event of a malfunction, but it failed to do so. The blow has been so heavy that the US officials do not still want to accept that Iran brought down the plane by a cyber attack. Instead, explanations have focused on potential technical failures. The aircraft cover great distances and depend on satellite links. A lost connection or other malfunction could cause them to turn back home or start automatic explosion.

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