'Downed US drone was on surveillance mission'

US military officials say drone shot down by Iran was looking for suspected nuclear sites, CNN reports.

By JPOST.COM STAFF
December 16, 2011 15:44
2 minute read.
Hajizadeh and downed US drone

Hajizadeh and downed US drone_311. (photo credit: FARS)

US military officials have confirmed that the US drone apparently shot down by Iran last week was on a surveillance mission of suspected nuclear sites in the country, CNN reported Thursday.

The US military officials confirmed that the Sentinel was flying a surveillance mission and they said the US military didn't know what the drone was doing because it was being run by the CIA, according to CNN.

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Iran continued to tout its technical prowess in bringing down the US drone Thursday, with one Iranian engineer saying the Islamic Republic was able to reconfigure the RQ-170's GPS system causing it to land in Iran instead of its homebase in Afghanistan, according to the Christian Science Monitor.

"The GPS navigation is the weakest point," the Iranian engineer told the paper, speaking on condition of anonymity for safety purposes, according the Monitor.


According to the engineer, the Iranian military was able to "confuse" the drone's navigational network in order to make it land "where we wanted to." Iranian scientists crafted the technical trick based on technology taken from previously captured US drones. 


The information provided by the Iranian scientist - the most complete explanation of how Iran managed to down the US drone without shooting it out of the sky - came as Iran announced it plans to put several foreign unmanned spy planes it has in its possession on display in the near future, including four Israeli drones.

Earlier Thursday, the Tehran Times quoted an informed source as saying that Iran also has three US drones in its possession, including the RQ-170 unmanned aircraft that Iran displayed on television last week.

According to the report, Iranian reporters and foreign ambassadors will be allowed to visit the exhibit.

The Tehran Times quoted the source as saying that the Israeli drones had entered Iran's airspace along its eastern border.

The US drone, which Iran claims to have brought down on December 4, is the most advanced of the unmanned spy planes in Tehran's possession, the source stated.

Iran stated earlier this week that it planned to "reverse-engineer" the RQ-170 drone and mass produce it in the near future.

On Tuesday, US House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers was quoted as saying by AFP that, while "it's not a good day for the United States" when a hostile nation obtains US technology, the threat of Iran "reverse-engineering" the technology and mass producing the drone, as it has promised, does not pose that great a threat to the US.

""The good news is, while they're spending time re-engineering, we will be spending time engineering, and that's the biggest difference," Rogers stated.

"They're very proud that they're going to re-engineer this, and I hope they spend five, six, seven, eight years doing that, that would be great, because we'll be long past that," he added.

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