No Word on Whether Iran Really Downed An RQ-170 (updated)


So there's still no word on whether Iran really downed and captured one of America's premiere UAVs, the stealthy RQ-170 Sentinel.

UPDATE: Fox News is citing an unnamed Pentagon source as confirming that Iran does indeed have an RQ-170.

Iran appears to be in possession of one of America's most sophisticated weapons, a super-secret spy plane whose stealth technology is the same as the drone used to monitor the compound during the raid that killed Usama bin Laden, U.S. military sources told Fox News on Monday.

Military sources confirmed that the Iranians have the RQ-170 drone, which is so advanced that the U.S. Air Force has not distributed even a photo of it. However, they did not say that the Iranians shot down the spy plane, as was reported by Iran's official IRNA news agency.

As you know, Iranian media claimed yesterday that an RQ-170 was brought down intact by the Iranian army electronic warfare units. NATO officials have released a very vague statement saying that a UAV was lost over Western Afghanistan and that the Iranians may be talking about that drone. NATO didn't say what kind of drone it is.
'The unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to which the Iranians are referring may be a US reconnaissance aircraft that had been flying a mission over western Afghanistan late last week,' NATO said.

'The operators of the UAV lost control of the aircraft and had been working to determine its status,' it added.

We'll see what happens, Iran has yet to produce visual evidence that it has the plane. Keep in mind that Tehran has claimed to have downed U.S. drones  numerous times without offering any proof.

Furthermore, it's probably unlikely that the RQ-170 will give Iran (and China) a true glimpse of the U.S.' most cutting edge drone tech. The RQ-170 has been spotted flying out of Kandahar Afghanistan since at least 2007, a long time given the pace of innovation in the UAV world.


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