Iran says it can make copy of captured CIA drone

Dec 12, 2012 by Ali Akbar Dareini

Iran is now capable of manufacturing its own copies of an advanced CIA spy drone captured last year, a senior Iranian lawmaker said Wednesday.

Avaz Heidarpour, a member of the parliament's national security committee, said experts have reverse-engineered the RQ-170 Sentinel , and Iran now is capable of launching a production line for the .

"Iranian experts examined and analyzed the RQ-170 drone. Its parts were brought down so that all files and boards of the drone were copied and used to improve Iran's unmanned aircraft," he told the parliament's website, icana.ir, on Wednesday.

Heidarpour said production of RQ-170 drone cost the U.S. around $20 billion, but the expensive technology is now in Iran's possession through reverse engineering.

The Sentinel went down in December. Iran claimed it took control of it and landed it, but U.S. officials said the drone malfunctioned and had to land. They eventually confirmed the plane was monitoring Iran's military and . Washington asked for it back, but Iran refused, and instead released photos of Iranian officials studying the aircraft.

Iranian officials said the data recovered from the drone showed it did not carry out any missions on Iran's nuclear facilities.

Iranian officials frequently announce technological and military breakthroughs, most of which are impossible to confirm independently.

Iranian Deputy Minister of Science, Research and Technology Mohammad Mahdinejad said last week that Iran is now exporting its domestically manufactured drones to several countries, including Syria and Venezuela.

Mahdinejad said Iran is now a global leader in drone technology and that its export of drones to other countries demonstrated of Iran's advanced capability in designing and operating unmanned aircrafts.

Heidarpour's comment came two days after Iran's Revolutionary Guard said it decoded all data from the drone that went down near Iran's eastern border with Afghanistan.

Tehran had previously said it recovered information from the top-secret stealth aircraft, but Guard's announcement suggested that technicians may have broken encryptions.

Last week, the Guard claimed it captured another U.S. drone after it entered Iranian airspace over the Persian Gulf, showing an image of what it said was a Boeing-designed ScanEagle drone on state TV.

The ScanEagle is a small, relatively simple drone. The U.S. has said none of its drones were missing, but one or more might have fallen into the sea over the past months.

The Islamic Republic has been trumpeting its possession of the drones in an attempt to embarrass Washington over its alleged surveillance of Iran's disputed nuclear program.

Guard commanders said Iran had previously acquired a ScanEagle drone and produced a copy of it, but they have not provided evidence to back up their claim.

Last month, Tehran claimed that a U.S. drone violated its airspace. The Pentagon said an unmanned Predator aircraft came under fire at least twice while flying over international waters, but it was not hit.

Explore further: UN study: Cellphones can improve literacy

5 /5 (2 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

RQ-170 drone's ambush facts spilled by Iranian engineer

Dec 17, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- In the aftermath of the Iran capture of a US military drone earlier this month now come arguments over how Iran managed to pull it off. An Iranian engineer’s exclusive interview with The Christian Science Monitor has been published, which details how the Iranians captured the drone through ...

Iran's version of YouTube hits the Web

Dec 09, 2012

(AP)—Iran says it has launched a video-sharing website in the latest move to create government-sanctioned alternatives to Internet powerhouses such as YouTube.

Apple vendors in Iran scoff at US sanctions

Jun 23, 2012

Vendors of Apple products in Iran on Saturday scoffed at US media reports that the consumer technology giant was banning US sales to customers of Iranian background, pointing out that iPads and iPhones are ...

4,000 BC antiquities found in Iran

Aug 17, 2005

Iranian archeologists discovered ruins and antiquities in central Iran that date back to 4,000 B.C., officials said Wednesday.

Recommended for you

UN study: Cellphones can improve literacy

12 hours ago

A study by the U.N. education agency says cellphones are getting more and more people to read in countries where books are rare and illiteracy is high.

Gates-funded student data group to shut down

Apr 21, 2014

The head of a student data processing organization says it will shut down in the coming months following criticism that led to the recent loss of its last active client—New York state.

Four questions about missing Malaysian plane answered

Apr 19, 2014

Travelers at Asian airports have asked questions about the March 8 disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 while en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. Here are some of them, followed by answers.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

NotAsleep
not rated yet Dec 12, 2012
"Constructing" and "operating" are fortunately two completely different things

More news stories

US urged to drop India WTO case on solar

Environmentalists Wednesday urged the United States to drop plans to haul India to the WTO to open its solar market, saying the action would hurt the fight against climate change.