Iran releases pictures of captured US drone

Iran releases pictures of captured US drone

Iran releases pictures of captured US drone

Iran says its forces downed the US RQ-170 Sentinel drone earlier this week. AP photo

Tehran has shown images of a U.S. drone it claimed to have shot down “with minimum damage” last week, providing the Pentagon a first chance to analyze footage of the downed aircraft.

“The wing-to-wing width of the RQ-170 Sentinel drone is around 26 meters with a length of 4.5 meters and a height of 1.84 meters. The drone is equipped with highly advanced surveillance, data gathering, electronic communication and radar systems,” Brig. Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, who is in charges of Iran’s aerospace unit, said Hajizadeh Dec. 8, according to Fars news agency.

The U.S. drone “intended to infiltrate Iran’s airspace for spying missions,” he said.

U.S. experts are analyzing Iranian footage of the drone, the Pentagon said Dec. 8, according to Agence France-Press. “We’ve had a chance to look at the imagery. We have people looking at it,” said Capt. John Kirby, a Pentagon spokesman. He said the analysts were not “just military personnel,” but declined to provide specific details.

The U.S. drone penetrated 250 kilometers inside the Islamic republic’s air space, state television’s website reported Dec. 9. The government said “the American RQ-170 spy plane violated 250 kilometers inside Iranian airspace before confronting the reaction of Iran’s armed forces,” the website reported. “Provocative and secret actions by the American government against the Islamic republic in recent months” have been on the increase, it said, Agence France-Presse reported.

Iranian state television earlier aired footage of what appeared to be an RQ-170 Sentinel aircraft with little visible damage. The footage showed a cream-colored aircraft being examined by two commanders of Tehran’s elite Revolutionary Guard Corps, who are in charge of the country’s air defenses. One of them, Hajizadeh, said the drone had been captured through a cyber attack. U.S. media said the drone had crashed in eastern Iran probably due to a technical fault. The Pentagon has confirmed it lost a drone but declined to acknowledge that it was downed in Iran or that it was operated by the CIA.

Despite U.S. fears that Iran could access and make use of highly-advanced technology found in the drone, a U.S. official said Dec. 7 that the U.S. had doubts “the Iranians have the expertise” to exploit the technology found in the wrecked vehicle.

Hajizadeh said the plane was designed to evade radar systems and was among the most recent types of advanced aircraft used by the U.S. “The drone’s technology has already been used in B2 and F35 planes,” Hajizadeh said. “This aircraft is controlled and guided through a satellite link and land stations in Afghanistan and the United States.”