Iranian-built copy of US drone takes first flight: IRNA
DUBAI - Reuters
A handout picture released by the official website of Iran's Defence Ministry website on September 23, 2014, shows newly made drone during an unveiling ceremony in Tehran on September 23, 2014. AFP PhotoAn Iranian copy of a U.S. reconnaissance drone captured in 2011 has taken its first flight, state news agency IRNA reported on Nov. 10.
In December 2011, Iran said it had captured a U.S. RQ-170 Sentinel reconnaissance drone in eastern Iran that had been reported lost by U.S. forces in neighbouring Afghanistan.
"We promised that a model of RQ-170 would fly in the second half of the year, and this has happened," Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh told IRNA. "A film of the flight will be released soon."
In a video posted by the semi-official Tasnim News Agency, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei voiced satisfaction at the news after seeing a replica of the drone, saying: "Today is a very sweet and unforgettable day for me."
Following reports of the drone's capture, Iranian commanders said they had extracted valuable technology from the aircraft and were in the process of reverse-engineering it for their own defence industry.
In May, Iran unveiled a copy of the RQ-170 drone, an aircraft manufactured by U.S. defence technology company Lockheed Martin (LMT.N).
The United States has said the security system meant Iran was unlikely to get valuable information from the drone.