U.S. official: Claims that Iran hijacked drone with GPS - “ridiculous”

Photo: U.S. official: Claims that Iran hijacked drone with GPS - “ridiculous” / Iran

A senior U.S. official scoffed at claims that Iran "hijacked" the RQ-170 spy drone through a sophisticated attack on a navigational weakness in the secret surveillance craft, Fox News reported.

Using knowledge purportedly gleaned from "previously downed and captured drones," Iran was able to reprogram the GPS system in the U.S. RQ-170 Sentinel drone that was flying over Iranian territory before falling into the country's hands earlier this month, according to an unnamed Iranian engineer.

But American officials insist that neither weaponry nor technology brought down the spy drone.

"This claim is ridiculous," a senior U.S. official said flat-out denying the report.

U.S. officials claim that the Sentinel drone is so advanced, that a photo of it was not distributed. The unmanned aircraft reportedly costs $6 mln., and is equipped with advanced stealth technology; it has an RQ in its name to indicate it is unarmed.

Earlier, Russian media reported that Iran had purchased a "consignment" of mobile radar detectors. Other websites describe the truck mounted equipment as an electronic countermeasure system intended to jam airborne radar systems. Reports suggest that these 1L222 Avtobaza detectors were used to jam communications with the U.S. drone.

Some U.S. officials still believe that the Sentinel drone simply ran out of gas, and went down without any Iranian electronic intereference.

On Dec. 4 Iranian Armed Forces downed the U.S. RG-170 drone, 140 miles inside the Iranian border from Afghanistan. Later, The Islamic Republic protested the violation of Iran's airspace by a U.S. drone.

The unmanned surveillance plane lost by the United States in Iran was a RQ-170 stealth aircraft being used for secret missions by the CIA, US officials admitted earlier this week. The aircraft is among the highly sensitive surveillance platform in the CIA's fleet that was shaped and designed to evade enemy defenses.

Lately, U.S president Barack Obama asked Iranian authorities to return the drone back, however the Islamic Republic has refused to do so.

Edited by: S. Isayev

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