Get flash to fully experience Pearltrees
Could this be the smoking electron in the alleged unmanned air vehicle (UAV) incident over Iran? The original reports that Iran "shot down" a Lockheed Martin RQ-170 Sentinel appear to be misleading. Iranian news agency reports credited the army's electronic warfare unit with bringing down the UAV, but apparently in a way that limited the amount of damage on landing or impact. Only six weeks ago, Russia announced delivering the Avtobaza ground-based electronic intelligence and jamming system (shown above) to Iran. Most Russian weapons exports to Iran are blocked, including the proposed transfer of the S-300 surface to air missile system. But there is a key difference between a SAM battery and a jamming system.
An Iranian claim that it used cyberwarfare techniques to hijack a US stealth drone, getting it to land in that country, drew deep skepticism from some US cyberwarfare experts who doubt Iran 's ability to carry out such an operation. Skip to next paragraph Subscribe Today to the Monitor Click Here for your FREE 30 DAYS of The Christian Science Monitor Weekly Digital Edition
December 20, 2011 by Joseph Fitsanakis By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org | A European intelligence official has said that Iran downed an unmanned American surveillance aircraft earlier this month by remotely sabotaging its satellite navigation system. The official, who has not been named, told The Christian Science Monitor that the Iranians used a state-of-the-art laser system to effectively “blind” the American spy satellite that guided the drone’s global positioning system (GPS). In doing this, Iran’s military was able to remotely skyjack the aircraft and assume control over its navigational system.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad ratcheted up claims surrounding the American drone the country claims it downed, telling Venezuelan state TV that it has been "able to control" it. "Those who have been in control of the spy plane will analyze the plane's system," Ahmadinejad bragged, according to CNN . "The systems of Iran are so advanced also, like the system of this plane."
<img class="alignnone size-large wp-image-66342" title="RQ-170" src="http://www.wired.com/images_blogs/dangerroom/2011/12/3-660x440.jpg" alt="" width="660" height="440" /> Prepare the dissection table. Iran says it’s planning to disassemble its prized acquisition: a CIA-operated drone that apparently crashed in its territory . Its goal: to learn how the drone, apparently a stealth RQ-170 Sentinel, evades radar and how its top-secret sensors work.
Updated once more, 3:40 pm China and Russia are apparently chomping at the bit to get a look at the American spy drone that went down over Iran. But if Iranian officials are to be believed, all they have to do is fire up YouTube to get a glimpse. On Thursday, an Iranian news site quoted military sources as saying that Russia and China have already asked Iran to view the remains of an American RQ-170 stealth spy drone that recently crashed in Iran. The site — Nasimonline.ir, known to be close to Tehran’s conservative Islamic Coalition Party — is also broadcasting footage of Iranian military officials inspecting what authorities claim is an intact RQ-170.
<img class="alignnone size-large wp-image-65836" title="RQ-170" src="http://www.wired.com/images_blogs/dangerroom/2011/12/bigbeast1-660x205.jpg" alt="" width="660" height="205" /> Updated 6:21 pm Iran probably did scoop up one of America’s stealthy RQ-170 Sentinel spy drones after the bat-winged aircraft crashed near the Iran-Afghanistan border last week. Multiple news outlets have cited anonymous U.S. government sources confirming Tehran’s claims that it’s in possession of the radar-evading Unmanned Aerial Vehicle. What’s still uncertain is exactly why the drone went down, what it was doing in or near Iranian airspace and who was operating it.
Reporting from Los Angeles and Washington — The radar-evading drone that crash-landed over the weekend in Iran was on a mission for the CIA, according to a senior U.S. official, raising fears that the aircraft's sophisticated technology could be exploited by Tehran or shared with other American rivals. It was unclear whether the drone's mission took it over Iran or whether it strayed there accidentally because of technical malfunctions, the official said. Though the drone flight was a CIA operation, U.S. military personnel were involved in flying the aircraft, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the secrecy involved.
<img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-65579" title="RQ-170" src="http://www.wired.com/images_blogs/dangerroom/2011/12/e7c61_rq170-525-1.jpg" alt="" width="660" height="424" /> Updated Dec. 5, 7:20 p.m. For the second time this year , the Iranian government is claiming it forced down a stealthy U.S. Air Force spy drone. Only this time, Iran says it bagged the RQ-170 “with little damage” by jamming its control signal — a potentially worrying development for American forces heavily reliant on remote-controlled aircraft. There are good reasons to question Iran’s story — or at least parts of it.