Iran Claims It Shot Down U.S. Drone
The Iranian military claims a U.S. drone was shot-down in western Iran, but all the United States is admitting is that plane is missing:
A secret U.S. surveillance drone that went missing last week in western Afghanistan appears to have crashed in Iran, in what may be the first case of such an aircraft ending up in the hands of an adversary.Iran’s news agencies asserted that the nation’s defense forces brought down the drone, which the Iranian reports said was an RQ-170 stealth aircraft. It is designed to penetrate enemy air defenses that could see and possibly shoot down less-sophisticated Predator and Reaper drones.A stealthy RQ-170 drone played a critical role in surveilling the compound in Pakistan where Osama bin Laden was hiding in the months before the raid in which he was killed by U.S. Navy SEALs in May.U.S. officials acknowledged Sunday that a drone had been lost near the Iranian border, but they declined to say what kind of aircraft was missing.The Iranian government has not released any pictures of the recovered aircraft, which they said was downed by defense forces after it flew across the border and into the country’s airspace. An unnamed Iranian defense official said in one report that a cyberattack caused the drone to crash.U.S. officials cast doubt on this and other Iranian assertions. “We have no indication that it was brought down by hostile fire,” said a senior Pentagon official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive surveillance activity.If an RQ-170 drone crashed in Iran, it would mark a significant setback for the U.S. military. The United States has lost less-sophisticated unmanned aircraft in recent years over Iran, but a nearly intact RQ-170 could offer a potential windfall of useful intelligence for the Iranians and their allies.The aircraft has special coatings and a batwing-like shape that is designed to evade detection by enemy radar. The aircraft could help the Iranians better understand the vulnerabilities of U.S. stealth technology and provide them with clues on how to spot other aircraft, U.S. officials said
Given the previous reports about the Predator drone fleet being infected by a computer virus, I’d be more concerned with the cyberattack claim by the Iranians, actually.
Diagram via Wired
Iran appears to be in possession of one of America's most sophisticated weapons, a super-secret spy plane whose stealth technology is the same as the drone used to monitor the compound during the raid that killed Usama bin Laden, U.S. military sources told Fox News on Monday.
Military sources confirmed that the Iranians have the RQ-170 drone, which is so advanced that the U.S. Air Force has not distributed even a photo of it. However, they did not say that the Iranians shot down the spy plane, as was reported by Iran's official IRNA news agency.
IRNA quoted an unidentified Iranian military official saying Sunday that the spy plane was shot down by Iran's armed forces and suffered minor damage.. The official also warned of strong and crushing response to any violations of the country's airspace by American drone aircraft.
Earlier, the U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan issued a statement saying the aircraft may have been a drone that operators lost contact with last week while it was flying a mission over neighboring western Afghanistan.
A U.S. official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the classified nature of the incident, said the U.S. had "absolutely no indication" that the drone was shot down.
Iran is locked in a dispute with the U.S. and its allies over Tehran's disputed nuclear program, which the West believes is aimed at developing nuclear weapons. Iran denies the accusations, saying its nuclear program is entirely peaceful and that it seeks to generate electricity and produce isotopes to treat medical patients.
Iran said in January that two pilotless spy planes it had shot down over its airspace were operated by the United States and offered to put them on public display. In July, Iranian military officials showed Russian experts several U.S. drones they said were shot down in recent years.
Also in July, Iranian lawmaker Ali Aghazadeh Dafsari said Iran's Revolutionary Guard shot down an unmanned U.S. spy plane that was trying to gather information on an underground uranium enrichment site.
I am skeptical of the US story that this valuable plane with stealth technology was being used over Western Afghanistan and "lost its tether." You do not need stealth technology to look for the Taliban who have no means of shooting down this aircraft. It makes more sense that the plane was on a mission over Iran and either lost its tether or was brought down by the Iranians. However it got there it is a significant intelligence loss for the US. I suspect the technology will be sold by Iran to China and russia and they may even try to reverse engineer it for their own purposes.The RQ-170 Sentinel is made by Lockheed Martin and is equipped with stealth technology. The $6 million stealth aircraft manufactured by Lockheed Martin has an RQ in its name to indicate it is unarmed.
Posted 3 days ago by Merv