Iran building new copies of U.S. RQ-170 drone

Photo: Iran building new copies of U.S. RQ-170 drone / Iran

Baku, Azerbaijan, May 13

By Umid Niayesh - Trend:

Iran is building two new copies of the U.S. RQ-170 Sentinel drone, a senior military official has announced.

Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Aerospace Force Brigadier General Ali Hajizadeh said that the first sample of the domestically produced RQ-170 U.S. drone will take a test flight in the near future, Iran's Fars news agency reported on May 13.

He also remarked that a 15 percent scale sample of the drone successfully passed flight tests in recent weeks.

Iran unveiled its home-made copy of RQ-170 on May 11 in an exhibition at the IRGC Aerospace Forces' Central Command, attended by the Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei.

The U.S. RQ-170 Sentinel was reverse-engineered by IRGC experts in about two years.

The RQ-170 is an unmanned stealth aircraft designed and developed by the Lockheed Martin Company.

The aircraft was downed with minimal damage by the Iranian Army's electronic warfare unit on December 4, 2011, while flying over the Iranian city of Kashmar, some 225 kilometers (140 miles) from the Afghan border, Iranian media outlets claimed.

Although U.S. officials never confirmed it, Iran says it used its radio electronic warfare skills and vulnerabilities in the Sentinel's GPS receiver to trick it into landing on Iranian territory instead of its designated military base. The claims are considered plausible by many, since the drone did not sustain any visible damage during its alleged crash-landing.

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