Iran Has Our Drone, Now Who Will Buy It?
Iran guided the CIA‘s “lost” stealth drone to an intact landing inside hostile territory by exploiting a navigational weakness long-known to the US military, according to an Iranian engineer now working on the captured drone’s systems inside Iran.
Source: Christian Science Monitor
“We have asked for it back,” Obama said Monday at a news conference in Washington with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki. “We’ll see how the Iranians respond.”
Source: LA Times
A US drone captured by Iran is now the “property” of the Islamic republic, Defence Minister Ahmad Vahidi said on Tuesday, dismissing a request by US President Barack Obama for its return.
In a letter from Ambasador Mohammad Khazaee to U.N. Secretary-Genera Ban Ki-moon and the heads of the General Assembly and Security Council said “my government emphasizes that this blatant and unprovoked air violation by the United States government is tantamount to an act of hostility against the Islamic Republic of Iran in clear contravention of international law, in particular, the basic tenets of the United Nations Charter.”
“No nation welcomes other countries’ spy drones in its territory, and no one sends back the spying equipment and its information back to the country of origin,” said Gen. Hossein Salami, deputy commander of the Armed Forces.
“What makes this particular drone quite useful, from an intelligence perspective, is that it can fly at extremely high altitudes — reportedly up to 50,000 feet. It is capable of staying in the air for hours at a time, which is a luxury you don’t have with satellite imagery. [It has] multiple sensors on it; it can intercept electronic communications, it can take air samples to detect whether or not there is any chemicals or other unusual things in the air that might lead one to believe that there is, in the case of Iran, a nuclear program that is active in the area,” according to Jason Campbell, a military analyst with the RAND Corporation.
On Thursday, Iran’s Foreign Ministry summoned the Swiss ambassador to protest “the violation of its airspace,” the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported. The U.S. does not have diplomatic representation in Iran, so its affairs are handled by the Swiss envoy.
A senior U.S. official told The Times that the drone was on a mission for the CIA, raising fears that its sophisticated technology could be exploited by Tehran or shared with other American rivals. Source: LA Times
Iran’s armed forces said Sunday that their electronic warfare unit managed to take control of the RQ-170 and land it, a feat U.S. officials say is unlikely because of its technical difficulty.
Iran has also released a 2.5 minute video of the
top secret American drone that was downed last week. Along with the typical propaganda Iran filed a formal diplomatic protest against the drones use. Contrary to many expert theories the drone appears to be in fair shape even though one of its wings appears to be taped. This revelation means that China and Russia should have no problem reverse engineering the drone and potentially using the captured technology on various other stealth projects. I wonder who in the Situation Room is pushing a secret raid or missile strike at this moment. Video link and Source
According to the New York Times the drone that crashed some 140 miles within Iran was part of a secret program to detect and map out Iran’s nuclear sites.
From the NYT: The stealth C.I.A. drone that crashed deep inside Iranian territory last week was part of a stepped-up surveillance program that has frequently sent the United States’ most hard-to-detect drone into the country to map suspected nuclear sites, according to foreign officials and American experts who have been briefed on the effort.
Two officials said that the United States briefly considered going in to retrieve the downed drone, or to destroy it, as first reported Wednesday by The Wall Street Journal, but the operation was deemed too risky. There are questions about whether Iran could reverse-engineer the technology, though they certainly could sell the vehicle to China, Russia or other countries with a deep interest in it. Read the rest at the NYT website
The United States Army confirmed what Iran had been saying for days; they have our drone. However it ended up in Iranian airspace isn’t the real concern. What should worry the American military is how the most secret, and expensive, drone in our arsenal was able to be brought down in decent shape. While intelligence teams scramble to figure out exactly how it was brought down there will be many more worrying about whose hands the drone will end up in after Iran puts it on display.
Iran which is under severe scrutiny for storming the British Embassy and its nuclear program is now fearing retaliation for the downing of the drone. Iran has previously claimed to have downed all sorts of drones from multiple nations but the responses from those nations has been minimal if any at all. Now it seems that Iran is fearing the worst as Western intelligence officials report that Iran was deploying artillery and guards to key defensive points, as well as arranging “long-range missiles” and “high explosives” fearing a potential attack, according to the Telegraph. It should be noted that this drone was used before the raid on the compound that Osama bin Laden was using to camp out in and there have been suspicious explosions within Iran lately.
American officials have acknowledged that the military lost control of one of the stealthy RQ-170 drones while it was flying a mission over western Afghanistan. Iran’s official IRNA news agency has said that Iran’s armed forces shot it down. U.S. officials have denied that claim, saying there are no indications the Sentinel was shot down however they don’t have the drone and are unable to confirm what exactly happened.
The military fears that Iran might be able to get a general idea of how to build drones themselves or duplicate the stealth technology used on the drone. Analysts however feel that the military’s fears are a little dramatic. They say that since the drone operates at such a high altitude, has a super stealth design and was possibly shot down make it all but impossible that they could get anything from it. “This is a high-flying unmanned aircraft that malfunctioned and then fell to earth. It’s likely to be broken up into hundreds of pieces.”
While the analysts bicker the fact remains that we are missing one of our best drones and Iran is claiming to have possession of it. Since Iran has very few friends they only have a few calls to make before they find a buyer. One potential buyer is the worlds expert at reverse engineering; China. When Iran previously claimed to have downed drones they also said that they were going to put them on display and had some very interested people from Russia inspecting them. There was no confirmation that any such display took place but Iran is one of the most isolated nations on earth. China however has a profound interest in our stealth technology as is evident in their new J-20 fighter jet which uses tech from the F-117 stealth bomber. China gained that technological edge over its enemies by scouring the crash site and putting the pieces back together.
If Iran does have big hunks of the “beast of Kandahar” and that is a big ‘if’ then it is only a matter of time before Iran is getting it off of their hands. All Iran needs is to give the war hawks in Congress another reason to push their country back to the stone age. For all we know this could just be propaganda from both sides to further anti-American/Iranian resentment in the masses of both lands and in the case of America lessen the resistance to another war. Again Iran has claimed to have downed multiple drones and none have even put a blip on the news radar but now that Iran is in need of a spanking this flares up.