Yesterday, Iran showed off an unmanned American drone they captured earlier this week after the drone strayed into Iran from Afghanistan. And by strayed into Iran, I mean the drone was on a covert spy mission into Iranian territory.
Iranian state television used its main newscast to unveil the drone, identified as a stealth RQ-170 Sentinel made by Lockheed Martin. The drone was shown in a video at an undisclosed location where two men in military fatigues could be seen walking around it. The belly of the plane was covered with banners saying, “We’ll trample America underfoot” and “The U.S. cannot do a damn thing.”
The left wing of the aircraft seemed broken and mended, and the drone had a beige color, different from the models shown in stock footage. It also seemed smaller.
“They wanted to spy on Iran, but it has turned against them,” a news presenter said. “Iran’s wisdom is keeping the Americans awake at night.”
Brig. Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, chief of the aerospace division of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, told state television that the drone was downed by a joint operation of the Guard and the regular army.
“After entering the country’s eastern space, the plane was caught in an electronic ambush by the armed forces, and it was brought down on the land with the minimum damage,” Hajizadeh said.
He said the drone is equipped with advanced systems for gathering electronic, visual and telecommunication information and possesses various radar systems.
U.S. intelligence agencies were examining the Iranian footage on Thursday, with some officials expressing skepticism that the aircraft shown was the downed drone, citing inconsistencies in its color and shape.
U.S. officials do not dispute that Iran has possession of a stealth RQ-170 that had been flown by the CIA. But U.S. officials have said they do not believe the drone was brought down by cyberwarfare, and that a technical malfunction is more likely to blame.