Iranian Drone Shot Down by Israel was US Knockoff – And Could Carry Missiles

 In Foreign, Technology

For those who expressed outrage at Israel’s action in shooting down the Iranian drone on Saturday, there was more to the story. The drone that was flying over Israeli airspace could carry precision-guided missiles. It was a US knockoff from the RQ-170, one of which was captured by Iran in 2011 in what they described as an “electronic ambush.” Read that: they allegedly hacked it.

Even James Mattis said that Israel has the right to defend itself. He knew what that drone could have been carrying.

Popular Mechanics reported,

The wedge-shaped drone looks like a flying saucer when seen in the black and white of a thermal scope. An Israeli helicopter pilot is tracking its smooth, steady path from the cockpit of an Apache.

It’s not hard to ID the model and owner of the unmanned aircraft. It’s Saturday morning, Feb. 10, and the drone is flying from Syrian airspace, launched from a base staffed with Iranian military. The shape and size of the drone pegs it as a Simorgh, a pilotless plane with a stealthy shape.

The name means “Phoenix,” as in the mythical bird that fell from the sky but was reborn. The irony is rich, since even the Iranians say the version they fly has been reverse-engineered from a once-secret U.S. aircraft, the RQ-170, that crashed (some say it was hacked) while snooping on Iranian nuclear program.

Some reports call the Iranian drone Saeqeh, or “Thunderbolt.”

The RQ-170 was engineered to evade radar. When Iran captured it in 2011, the US demanded they return it…which didn’t happen. They did manage to reverse engineer their own, which they tested in 2014. The wing span of Iran’s drone is 85 feet, while the wing span of the RQ-170 was only 66.

It is unclear if the drone on Saturday was armed. Could it maintain its stealth capability if armed? That is also unclear.

“It was not an attack, but a test of the limits and rules. For the Iranians, there is nothing better than to test the limits and get away with it, and that’s why we should not let them.” Chagai Tzuriel, director general of Israel’s Intelligence Ministry

They paid for their “test of limits and rules”  which Human Rights groups are now whining about.

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