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RQ-170 Sentinel
According to Iran's Islamic Republic News Agency, the Iranian military has shot down a RQ-170 Sentinel, which is the U.S. Air Force's stealth drone

Iran announced that it has shot down a U.S. stealth drone within its borders, but the U.S. believes the craft could be an unmanned reconnaissance plane instead.

According to Iran's Islamic Republic News Agency, the Iranian military has shot down a RQ-170 Sentinel, which is the U.S. Air Force's stealth drone.

The RQ-170 Sentinel, also known as "Beast of Kandahar," is an unmanned drone that was developed by Lockheed Martin and based in Afghanistan. It has an isosceles trapezoid-shaped inlet, which is a common shape for stealthy aircraft. Its main purpose is to carry out secret missions into Pakistan and it is believed that the drone also secretly spies on Iranian military sites. Initially, the U.S. Air Force denied the existence of the drone in order to keep it classified, and it is still unknown how many of them exist.

Iran announced that it had shot down and captured the RQ-170 on Sunday after it had violated the country's airspace near the eastern border, but the U.S. and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) are not so sure. U.S. officials say there is no evidence that the drone had been shot down.

NATO noted that Iran may have instead found an unmanned reconnaissance plane, which was lost while flying over western Afghanistan last week.

"The operators of the UAV lost control of the aircraft and had been working to determine its status," said NATO's International Security Assistance Force.

The U.S.' doubt regarding Iran's possession of the RQ-170 stems from Iran's previous claims of shooting down drone's with no evidence. Back in January, Tehran said its military shot down drones in the Gulf. Later in July, it claimed to shoot down a drone near Qom. Tehran could not produce evidence of either incident.

It is currently unknown what kind of U.S. drone has disappeared, but if Iran's military really does have the RQ-170 in its possession, it could be problematic for the U.S. since the drone contains its powerful "technological secrets" such as high-tech cameras, listening systems, and coatings/materials that make it challenging to identify.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Tehran may not be able to copy the technology itself, but it could sell the drone to Russia or China for that purpose.

Sources: The Wall Street Journal, MSNBC

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RE: Lost?
By kingmotley on 12/5/2011 11:34:14 AM , Rating: 3
*IF* it was armed, which it wasn't:
So we should make all aircraft illegal since we've had armed aircraft lose control and crash? I don't see how an unmanned version would require more or less scrutiny.

RE: Lost?
By StevoLincolnite on 12/5/2011 12:33:16 PM , Rating: 2
I honestly have no problem against armed unarmed vehicles, better to keep the soldiers out of harms way.

Besides, it's a war. You're not going to beat the enemy with roses and daffodils.

RE: Lost?
By x10Unit1 on 12/5/2011 3:07:35 PM , Rating: 2
We are in a war with Iran?

Hmmm...I must have missed something on the news.

People that reply, "War on Terror" get -10000 internets

RE: Lost?
By ppardee on 12/5/2011 3:59:31 PM , Rating: 3
War on Terriers.

Just because we haven't declared war on a country and don't have boots on the ground, doesn't mean we aren't in an active conflict.

Iran is preparing for war. They are trying to develop nuclear weapons. They aren't aiming for military dominance over Syria or Pakistan. They're working on technology and techniques to be able to stand toe to toe with the US and the UN.

On the flip side, the US is actively working to make sure this doesn't happen. We are using spies, spy drones and technology to subvert their efforts.

There is paranoia in the both the Iranian government and the US government, both accusing the other of terrorism. If the status quo remains, open war is inevitable.

RE: Lost?
By Skywalker123 on 12/6/2011 6:00:18 AM , Rating: 2
Iran is preparing for war? With who? They, unlike us haven't invaded anyone.

RE: Lost?
By rcc on 12/6/2011 5:20:51 PM , Rating: 2
Really? Tell that to the Greeks, among others.

However, I'll grant you it was a while ago.

Hint, they claim Persian ancestry, not Arab.

RE: Lost?
By Solandri on 12/5/2011 8:14:03 PM , Rating: 2
Iran happens to share borders with both Iraq and Afghanistan. While I'm against sending our aircraft (even drones) into Iran in the current political climate, it's not unreasonable to think that an out-of-control drone operating in Iraq or Afghanistan could have flown/glided into Iranian airspace on its own.

This is the funny thing about people who are anti-military. They think the U.S. military is simultaneously incompetent and supercompetent. They think the military is incapable of accomplishing any task given to it (aside from blowing up mud shacks with million dollar missiles), and yet at the same time they think its equipment and soldiers always operate perfectly. The military is just like you and me. Better funded and perhaps better trained, but they're just as subject to the whims of Murphy as the rest of us.

RE: Lost?
By shiftypy on 12/6/2011 7:35:58 AM , Rating: 2
- US is actively surveying Iran which shot one of the drones down
- US drone lost connection over Afghanistan, wandered over to Iran fell intact and was found and inserted into a story of shooting it down

I think first version is more plausible, but both stories give Iran right to be speak up against US

RE: Lost?
By Ringold on 12/5/2011 10:06:49 PM , Rating: 2
better to keep the soldiers out of harms way.

Devils advocate: When the loss of life is largely removed from the realm of possibility, whats left other then mere dollar signs to put the brakes on a nations appetite for war?

While I don't like it, I feel the trump card to all anti-drone arguments is this: If we don't do it, then someone else will and all advantages thereof will accrue to them. Therefore, we might as well get in early and dominate the field.

"I want people to see my movies in the best formats possible. For [Paramount] to deny people who have Blu-ray sucks!" -- Movie Director Michael Bay
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