Iran military says copying U.S. drone

DUBAI Sun Apr 22, 2012 10:20am EDT

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DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran's military has started to build a copy of a U.S. surveillance drone captured last year after breaking the software encryption, Iranian media reported on Sunday.

General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, head of the Revolutionary Guards aerospace division, said engineers were in the final stages of decoding data from the Sentinel aircraft, which came down in December near the Afghan border, Mehr news agency reported.

Iran said the unmanned aircraft was shot down, but Washington disputes that and says the security systems mean Iran is unlikely to get valuable information from the Lockheed Martin Corp drone.

"The Americans should be aware to what extent we have infiltrated the plane," Fars news agency quoted Hajizadeh as saying. "Our experts have full understanding of its components and program."

Iran's military regular announces defense and engineering developments, but some analysts are skeptical as to how reliable those reports are.

U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman, a member of the Armed Services Committee, voiced his own doubts.

"There's a history here of Iranian bluster, particularly now when they're on the defensive because of our economic sanctions against them," Lieberman said in a television interview.

The RQ-170 Sentinel has been widely used since 2010 in Afghanistan and Pakistan. It played a role in the raid in which Osama bin Laden was killed last year, analysts say.

An Iranian defense official said recently that Tehran has received numerous requests for information on the craft and that China and Russia have shown most interest.

The loss of the plane sparked some concerns that sophisticated technology could fall into the hands of countries developing their own unmanned planes. The main worry centers on the special coatings on the craft's surface.

(Editing by Matthew Tostevin)

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Comments (8)
Austell wrote:
“Iran said the unmanned aircraft was shot down, but Washington disputes that…”

This is a very inaccurate statement.

Iran said the drone was HACKED, not shot down. And Washington said it CRASHED.

See when you actually make an accurate statement it sounds a whole lot different guys!

The true information makes it sound like the Americans are lying, because if it crashed it would have been in a million pieces.

And it has always been very plausable that the drones could be hacked because it has ben done many times before, even using cheap radioshack technolgy in insurgents garages…

In any case the point NOT made by this ‘story’ is what little value one could glean out of something that is so easy to neutralize in the first place..?

Apr 22, 2012 7:01am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Mjax wrote:
Actually,austell, your wrong. U.S. said there was a communication failure. That the pilot lost communication w/ the sentinel. When that happens there are 2 things that could happen. 1. Return to base activates & the drone goes home automatically or lands where it can. We never said it crashed.

Apr 22, 2012 10:21am EDT  --  Report as abuse
joka1 wrote:
The USA is picking fights with people it thinks it can beat easily. That has always been the way of that sad state.
If Germany had bordered the US, and it was 1939. The German army would have cake walked the Yanks.
The USA is a lie of the people, by the people, for the people and we all know that lies have a sell by date.

Apr 22, 2012 10:41am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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