Thursday, December 8, 2011

Iran Shows Images of Captured RQ-170

Iran's Vision of the Islamic Republic of Iran Network 1 television station has shown the first images of what appears to be an intact RQ-170 Sentinel UAV belonging to the U.S. Air Force, according to a report from the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).
According to the BBC, the footage was captioned "RQ170 - advanced US spy plane."
The images show Iranian military officials inspecting the aircraft, which appears to be largely undamaged, according to the BBC report.
The U.S. Defense Department has confirmed that an unmanned aircraft is missing over western Afghanistan. The Pentagon has so far declined to identify the type of aircraft or under what circumstances the plane was lost.
The Iranians claim to have brought down the stealthy Sentinel using electronic attack methods.
U.S. analyst Loren Thompson of the Lexington Institute in Arlington, Va., said the aircraft likely malfunctioned.
There is also concern that the RQ-170's stealth technology might be compromised, affording other powers to reverse engineer the planes' design features, said analyst Richard Aboulafia. However, any gains would be temporary, he said; reverse engineering doesn't help a national industry innovate.
The mostly likely beneficiary is China, he said.

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