Source: Tehran Times
The commander of the Aerospace Division of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps announced on Wednesday that Iran may give a copy of the captured RQ-170 stealth drone to the United States if Iran lifts the sanctions it has imposed on Washington. However, Brigadier General Amir-Ali Hajizadeh said Iran will not return the captured RQ-170 to the United States.
American RQ-170 drone captured by Iran in December 2011.
"We will not give back the U.S. version of it because it is booty, but if Iran's sanctions on the United States are lifted, we may give one model to the U.S.," the IRGC public relations office quoted Hajizadeh as saying.
Brigadier General Amir-Ali Hajizadeh
In 2011, the Iranian military downed and captured a U.S. RQ-170 Sentinel reconnaissance drone in eastern Iran.
Iran announced on Monday that it had flown a test-flight of its model of the drone. A film of the flight by the drone was broadcast on Iranian national television on Wednesday.
Iran releases video showing test flight of its RQ-170 version
Hajizadeh said the copy of the RQ-170 was built through "reverse designing" and not reverse engineering.
He said "domestic" engineering was employed to manufacture the sophisticated drone.
He went on to say that Iranian technicians were able to gain access to the encrypted information stored in the captured RQ-170.
According to Hajizadeh, the domestically manufactured version of the aircraft is even more advanced than the captured one in terms of weight, fuel efficiency, and the number of hours it can fly.
The IRGC official also said the aerospace division under his command plans to build and put into operation four drones of this model by the end of the current Iranian calendar year, which ends on March 20, 2015.
Mass production and deployment of the drone will begin in the next Iranian calendar year, he added.
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