Iran said today it has successfully copied a U.S. drone it captured in December 2011. In a ceremony in Tehran, attended by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the IRGC Aerospace Force showed the captured American RQ-170 Sentinel next to its copy built in Iran. IRGC-ASF announced that its drone will be flight tested soon.
“This drone is very important for reconnaissance missions,” Khamenei said, standing in front of the Iranian copy of the American drone. (IRIB/AFP, 11 May)
Iran has developed a robust drone program, and has built 4-5 different models for reconnaissance and operations use. An Iranian TV documentary aired today showed an Iranian drone above a U.S. aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf. It was possible to see American personnel working on planes and helicopters aboard the carrier.
Photo credit: Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei sitting next to the captured U.S. drone and its copy, at an IRGC Aerospace Force exhibition. Tehran, Sunday 11 May 2014 (khamenei.ir/AFP)