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Thread: Iran capture of US spy drone 'would be significant blow to military'

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    Default Iran capture of US spy drone 'would be significant blow to military'

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    Iran capture of US spy drone 'would be significant blow to military'

    Iran could deal a significant blow to the US military if it has captured a top secret American spy drone, allowing Tehran to counter or copy the highly classified technology, experts have warned.


    An RQ-170 American drone has been shot down in eastern Iran


    By Ben Farmer, Kabul

    4:20PM GMT 05 Dec 2011

    Tehran claims to have brought down with "little damage" an RQ-170 surveillance drone, considered one of the most secret aircraft in the world, flying inside eastern Iran.

    The seizure of the unarmed surveillance drone intact would give access to a treasure trove of classified information including the designs of the aircraft and its payload of sensors.

    However it was unlikely the drone had escaped a crash or being shot down without significant damage and its sensitive technology was probably rigged with self-destruct mechanisms, experts added.

    Suspicion surrounds the claims because Iran has yet to release any footage of the captured drone or its wreckage.

    Nato forces confirmed a drone went missing in Afghanistan near the Iranian border last week, though would not say what kind it was.

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    Huw Williams, an expert on unmanned aircraft at Jane's International Defence Review, said the RQ-170 Sentinel, made by Lockheed Martin, was one of the most secret drone programmes in the world and had reportedly taken part in the operation which killed Osama bin Laden.

    The aircraft is designed for intelligence gathering and relaying communications.

    If it fell into Iranian hands, engineers could potentially find ways to defeat its stealth technology and take advantage of its sensors and communications equipment.

    "If you can figure out the properties of the aircraft and what makes it stealthy, then you can figure out how to spot it more easily," he said.

    "If the Iranians have the technology then there could be good opportunities for reverse engineering and getting a good idea of how to track these things." "It's fair to say they are no mugs when it comes to technology.

    There's a good chance that they could exploit things especially if the payload is intact and it's carrying things like high-end cameras." Elizabeth Quintana, a senior research fellow at the Royal United Services Institute, said: "If this got into the hands of anyone, let alone the Iranians, this would be quite significant." Even the prospect of its successful capture would probably force the American military to divert money to more research to stay a step ahead of Iran.

    "It would certainly force the US to spend money just in case they were able to reverse engineer it," she said.

    The aircraft was designed to operate deep inside enemy territory, though, and would almost certainly have self destruct measures to stop secrets falling into enemy hands.

    Paul Rolfe, UK director of Unmanned Experts, said: "I would be very surprised if the question hasn't been asked and answered at the highest level: 'What happens if Iran or China or North Korea gets their hands on one of these things?'

    "The really worrying bit is any payload and package it may have been holding. But given the altitudes and speeds it operates at, I think it's more likely to have come down upside down at 600 knots and they are going to be picking bits of ceramic out of the desert for five years."

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    Default Re: Iran capture of US spy drone 'would be significant blow to military'

    This is where we detonate the backpack nuke in the belly of the drone.

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    Default Re: Iran capture of US spy drone 'would be significant blow to military'

    If there were one.

    LOL
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    Default Re: Iran capture of US spy drone 'would be significant blow to military'

    there is one, we just need a bomber to deliver it

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    Default Re: Iran capture of US spy drone 'would be significant blow to military'

    U.S. Military Sources: Iran Has Missing U.S. Drone


    Published December 05, 2011
    | FoxNews.com



    A U.S. super-secret spy plane believed to be in Iranian possession could be a major loss for the U.S. military -- and a major gain for Iran.

    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.
    Related Video


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    "This is a big prize in terms of technology," a senior U.S. military source told Fox News.

    The spy plane uses the same stealth technology as the drone used to monitor the compound during the raid that killed Usama bin Laden, U.S. military sources told Fox News on Monday.

    Military sources confirmed that the Iranians have the RQ-170 drone, which is so advanced that the U.S. Air Force has not distributed even a photo of it. However, they did not say that the Iranians shot down the spy plane, as was reported by Iran's official IRNA news agency.

    IRNA quoted an unidentified Iranian military official saying Sunday that the spy plane was shot down by Iran's armed forces and suffered minor damage.. The official also warned of strong and crushing response to any violations of the country's airspace by American drone aircraft.

    Earlier, the U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan issued a statement saying the aircraft may have been a drone that operators lost contact with last week while it was flying a mission over neighboring western Afghanistan.

    A U.S. official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the classified nature of the incident, said the U.S. had "absolutely no indication" that the drone was shot down.

    Iran is locked in a dispute with the U.S. and its allies over Tehran's disputed nuclear program, which the West believes is aimed at developing nuclear weapons. Iran denies the accusations, saying its nuclear program is entirely peaceful and that it seeks to generate electricity and produce isotopes to treat medical patients.

    Iran said in January that two pilotless spy planes it had shot down over its airspace were operated by the United States and offered to put them on public display. In July, Iranian military officials showed Russian experts several U.S. drones they said were shot down in recent years.

    Also in July, Iranian lawmaker Ali Aghazadeh Dafsari said Iran's Revolutionary Guard shot down an unmanned U.S. spy plane that was trying to gather information on an underground uranium enrichment site.

    The RQ-170 Sentinel is made by Lockheed Martin and is equipped with stealth technology. The $6 million stealth aircraft manufactured by Lockheed Martin has an RQ in its name to indicate it is unarmed.

    Neither the Air Force nor manufacturer Lockheed Martin has released much information about the plane, dubbed "The Beast of Kandahar" in 2007 when its existence was finally confirmed.

    "The RQ-170 Sentinel, a low observable UAV, was built by Lockheed Martin's Advanced Development Programs," Major Cristin L. Marposon, a public affairs officer for the USAF at the Pentagon, finally told FoxNews.com in 2009.

    Sources said that the plane was designed for surveillance, not for attack.
    Little is known about the plane beyond its intended goals, however, with no official images released or details about its composition. Leaked photographs purportedly of the craft depict a sleek, biwing design, intended to present a stealthier, harder to hit profile that other drones or other aircraft.

    "The USAF has not issued any public release photos of the RQ-170," Melissa Dalton of Lockheed Martin told FoxNews.com
    Early reports suggested that plane -- which supposedly has a wingspan of about 65 feet and can fly at around 50,000 feet -- would be made almost entirely without metal to help it dodge radar, and special paint provides additional stealth.

    Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., told Fox News on Monday that "it's less likely than not" that the Iranians did not shoot down the plane, but it had a mechanical or computer malfunction that caused it to go down. The Iranians then used it "for propaganda purposes."

    "In the past, they have claimed these shoot-downs and been unable to produce any pieces of the drone, and currently, they have not exhibited any piece of the RQ-170 yet," he said.

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    Default Re: Iran capture of US spy drone 'would be significant blow to military'

    Ok, Debka, I know, I know, but let me finish. They claim that Iran may of somehow taken control of this drone and landed it, read it there yesterday. So I says bullshit. But then today I hear that these drones have what is basically an automatic return to base order if contact has been lost, this one didn't do that. Also, supposedly its in fairly decent shape, minimal damage. So now I'm starting to think what if they did get control and land. Is it possible? If so, did Iran do it, or Russia, or both?

    First a stealth chopper and now a stealth drone. Don't forget we also lost a stealth bomber during that Kosovo operation back in the 90's.

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    Default Re: Iran capture of US spy drone 'would be significant blow to military'

    Russia
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    Default Re: Iran capture of US spy drone 'would be significant blow to military'

    Nice...

    I wonder how concerned the Obama Administration is to see this technology fall intact right into
    the hands of the Russians and Chinese to get caught up on 20 years of Stealth and Drone Research?

    Not only will they begin replicating this technology, countermeasures to to it will find it's way into all Axis anti-aircraft systems very soon.

    Iran Shows Alleged U.S. Stealth Drone on TV


    A military official gives a tour of an intact RQ-170 drone in a hangar to another Iranian military official. (Press TV)




    By LEE FERRAN and LUIS MARTINEZ (@LMartinezABC)
    Dec. 8, 2011

    An aircraft that appears to be the highly sensitive American stealth drone lost in Iran looks intact and with little visible damage in new video broadcast on Iranian television today.

    The cream-colored RQ-170 Sentinel is shown sitting on display in front of a patriotic Iranian poster as two uniformed military men examine the drone's radar-eluding batwing frame.

    The Iranian military claims it downed the drone through a cyber attack as it was flying through Iranian airspace last week. U.S. military officials said the drone was not flying over Iran, but rather in western Afghanistan, and suffered an innocent malfunction before gliding into Iranian airspace.

    Pentagon spokesperson Capt. John Kirby told reporters Monday there was no indication the drone was brought down by "hostile activity of any kind."

    U.S. officials told ABC News Tuesday the drone had been on a secret surveillance mission for the Central Intelligence Agency when its operators lost control. The CIA declined to comment both when Iran claimed to have the drone and after video surfaced today. Iran's semi-official Fars News Agency reported that the drone was designed to automatically destroy sensitive data in the case of a malfunction, but in this case it "failed to do so."



    The RQ-170, known as the Beast of Kandahar, is one of America's most advanced unarmed surveillance drones -- so sensitive that the Air Force did not even acknowledge its existence until last year. It was reportedly used to keep tabs on the man believed to be Osama bin Laden during the Navy SEAL mission that took out the terror leader in Pakistan in May.

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    Default Re: Iran capture of US spy drone 'would be significant blow to military'

    I really am pretty speechless over this one.

    I have nothing to say.
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    Default Re: Iran capture of US spy drone 'would be significant blow to military'

    Thanks for the updates Peterle.

    Americans aren't seeing this yet.
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    Default Re: Iran capture of US spy drone 'would be significant blow to military'

    Quote Originally Posted by Peterle Matteo View Post
    Look:



    If you look to this image it has a little "bump" on the left wing:

    I'm sure Sukhoi, Chengdu and or BrahMos can get that buffed right out.

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    Default Re: Iran capture of US spy drone 'would be significant blow to military'

    Chengdu.

    Been there, photographed it. Left the country in a hurry.

    LMAO!

    SCREW YOU CHINA
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    Default Re: Iran capture of US spy drone 'would be significant blow to military'

    FNC says the Pentagon confirms it is their RQ-170.

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    Default Re: Iran capture of US spy drone 'would be significant blow to military'

    And it wasn't shot down. It's in one piece.

    I've seen several images now - and it looks like it might have been hit with shrapnel but I'm not sure.
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    Default Re: Iran capture of US spy drone 'would be significant blow to military'

    From the Tehran Times...

    China, Russia Want To Inspect Downed U.S. Drone
    December 7, 2011

    An informed source in the Iranian military has said that Russian and Chinese officials have asked for permission to inspect the U.S. spy drone that was recently downed by the Iranian Armed Forces, Nasimonline.ir reported on Wednesday.

    On Sunday, an unidentified Iranian military source said that the Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic had downed an advanced RQ-170 unmanned U.S. spy plane, which had violated the country’s airspace along the eastern border.

    There are unconfirmed reports that Iran may put the drone on public display.

    According to the Washington Post, the RQ-170 drone has been used by the CIA for highly sensitive missions into other nations’ airspace, including months of surveillance of the compound in Pakistan in which Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was allegedly hiding before he was killed in an attack by Special Operations forces on May 1, 2011.

    On Monday, U.S. military officials said that they are concerned that Tehran may now have an opportunity to acquire information about the classified surveillance drone program, AP reported.

    U.S. officials considered conducting a covert mission inside Iran to retrieve or destroy the stealth drone but ultimately concluded such a secret operation wasn’t worth the risk of provoking a more explosive clash with Tehran, a U.S. official said, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.

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    Default Re: Iran capture of US spy drone 'would be significant blow to military'

    LMAO - didn't take long, did it?
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    Default Re: Iran capture of US spy drone 'would be significant blow to military'

    The moment it goes on "Public Display" needs to be the moment it's blown to Hell in a fiery blast that vaporizes the city.
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    Default Re: Iran capture of US spy drone 'would be significant blow to military'

    Again, I go back to what I asked earlier. Were they able to take control of this drone and land it? How else could that thing be in such good shape?

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    Default Re: Iran capture of US spy drone 'would be significant blow to military'

    Iran shows intact drone, boasts of cyberattack

    By Joshua Norman


    The alleged U.S drone brought down in Iran over the weekend, on Iranian state-run TV.


    (Credit: FARS news agency)

    Iranian state-run TV showed images of what appears to be a RQ-170 Sentinel drone, which the Islamic Republic claimed to have brought down by cyberattack in its airspace near the Afghanistan border over the weekend.

    If it is the U.S. drone nicknamed "Beast of Kandahar," many of the worst fears of intelligence analysts could come true.

    "Military experts are well aware how precious the technological information of this drone is," The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps Aerospace Forces Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh told state-run news agency FARS.


    The drone appears to be almost perfectly intact, giving Iran a great opportunity to explore its many cutting-edge and sensitive intelligence-gathering technologies. U.S. officials have said that particular drone's self-destruct function probably did not go off, because at the time of its downing, there was no contact with the drone.

    The state-run news agency FARS writes:
    "Among the United States' main concerns is that Iran could use an intact aircraft to examine the vulnerabilities in stealth technology and take countermeasures with its air defense systems. Another is that China or other US adversaries could help Iran extract data from the drone that would reveal its flight history, surveillance targets and other capabilities. The drone was programmed to destroy such data in the event of a malfunction, but it failed to do so. The blow has been so heavy that the US officials do not still want to accept that Iran brought down the plane by a cyberattack."
    U.S. officials have said little about what exactly brought down the drone, initially only indicating that CIA officials - who had been running the drone at the time - had lost contact with it at some point during its flight.

    Many in the U.S. said earlier it is unlikely that Iran would be able to recover any surveillance data from the aircraft, but that was before images of it being apparently largely intact surfaced online.

    Joe Cirincione, president of Ploughshares and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, told CBS News that the drone is "one of the most sophisticated surveillance assets the U.S. possesses."

    Cirincione said access to its technology adding that if Iran - or Russia or China - were able to glean information from its systems, "It could seriously set back U.S. national security interests."


    The alleged U.S drone brought down in Iran over the weekend, on Iranian state-run TV.


    (Credit: FARS news agency)

    Gen. Hajizadeh told FARS that the Iranian military had been well aware of drone flights in their territory for some time, and claimed to have shot down several before. For its part, U.S. officials have admitted that drones have been spying on Iran for years, but there has been little to no information about drones being downed there previously.

    As for this specific drone flight, Gen. Hajizadeh claimed Iran was aware of it before it happened.

    "Recently, our collected intelligence and precise electronic monitoring revealed that this aircraft intended to infiltrate our country's airspace for spying missions," Gen. Hajizadeh said. "After it entered the Eastern parts of the country, this aircraft fell into the trap of our armed forces and was downed in Iran with minimum damage."

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    Default Re: Iran capture of US spy drone 'would be significant blow to military'

    I am going to suggest you're correct. They were able to gain control of the plane's radio control system, which honestly doesn't seem all that difficult to me.

    Unless they were encrypting the digital signals running the servos, then it's NOT that hard to grab control of an operational remote flying machine.

    It could be done with the right radio signals, equipment to fly the plane and simply over riding the radio signals (by having a closer, stronger signal for example).

    I would NOT think the AF would be so damned stupid as to use COTS equipment to fly the planes and the data would be encrypted.

    On the other hand, I'm thinking that they wouldn't want critical crypto gear in a plane that might potentially be shot down and scavenged for information about our crypto capabilities so, perhaps there was NO data encryption of the signals.

    If you're not familar with remote controlled aircraft (as in say model planes) you might want to look up some of that data. They use Phase shift keying and pulse width modulation, things like that on data control for servos

    I think it is highly conceivable they were able to simply override the data signals and land the craft and capture it.
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