US ‘STEALTH’ RQ-170 DRONE PROBABLY DEFLECTED BY IRAN
Iran’s armed forces claimed, on Sunday 12/04/2011, have shot down an unmanned US spy plane that violated its eastern borders, military sources said.
Iranian media reports said the drone – identified as a type RQ170 – suffered minimal damage and was now in the hands of the armed forces.
The NATO-ISAF force in neighboring Afghanistan says the US drone could be one that was lost over western Afghanistan last week. The vent raises question how the sophisticated stealth RQ-170 UAV ended or landed on Iranian soil only with “minimal damage” as the Iranians claim. Recently Israeli IDF intelligence noticed growing attempts of Hizbullah in Lebanon to deflect, divert or take control on Israeli UAVs operating in Southern Lebanon (see – Siddiqine 11.22.11).
Iran is locked in a Secret-War with the West over its nuclear programme.
“The UAV [unmanned aerial vehicle] to which the Iranians are referring may be a US unarmed reconnaissance aircraft that had been flying a mission over western Afghanistan late last week. The operators of the UAV lost control of the aircraft and had been working to determine its status,” NATO-ISAF said in a statement.
A US official has said Washington had no indication the drone in question had actually been shot down, Reuters reports.
Iran earlier said the country’s military response to the airspace violation “will not be limited to Iran’s borders any more”, according to what one unnamed source told Iran’s al-Alam TV.
The RQ170 Sentinel is a stealthy and highly capable unmanned aircraft. It is shaped like a large flying wing similar to the profile of the manned B2 stealth bomber. Its shape and materials give it a low radar signature and it is clearly used for some of the most highly sensitive mission. Generally that kind of super-sophisticated drone is equipped with self destruction systems, especially of the sensitive electronic means, and with a JPS indicator to mark the position of the drone should something go wrong.
First spotted at Kandahar air base in Afghanistan in 2007, an RQ170 Sentinel was used by the Americans to provide real-time intelligence over Osama Bin Laden’s compound in Abbotabad, Pakistan, both before and during the raid by US special forces earlier this year (see – Abbottabad Raid).
Iran said in July 2011 it had shot down a drone over the holy city of Qom, near its Fordu nuclear site.
** The U.S. drone that apparently fell into Iran’s hands was part of a joint CIA-military reconnaissance operation, Fox News has claimed on Tuesday 12/06/2011. A senior U.S. official confirmed that the spy plane was being used for the CIA-military operation along the Afghan-Iranian border when it lost connectivity and disappeared. According to a senior U.S. military source with intimate knowledge of the Sentinel drone, the aircraft likely “wandered” into Iranian air space after losing contact with its handlers and is presumed to be intact since it is programmed to fly level and find a place to land, rather than crashing.
“This is a big prize in terms of technology,” the senior U.S. military source said.
* “We have asked for it (the RQ-170) back. We’ll see how the Iranians respond,” President Barak Obama said on Monday 12/12/2011, during a news conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki after the two met at the White House, officially confirming the worst – that the Iranians succeeded to land the drone with almost no damage in their territory.
11/2011 -BEIRUT CIA STATION PROBABLY “OUT OF BUISNESS”