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RQ-170 Sentinel  (Source:
However, a Lexington Institute analyst said that all signs point to the RQ-170 Sentinel as the missing drone

Analysts and Pentagon officials have placed serious doubts on Iran's claims to have shot down a stealthy U.S. aircraft earlier this week, saying that the craft likely experienced mechanical malfunctions instead.

On Sunday, Iran claimed that its military shot down a stealthy unmanned RQ-170 Sentinel reconnaissance aircraft which is now in its possession. Iran later said that it used a cyber attack to bring the aircraft down, and that it is "largely intact," but it has not provided any evidence of either claim.

According to Lexington Institute analyst Loren Thompson, there was no evidence that the drone was brought down using physical activity. Thompson added that using cyber warfare to bring down the aircraft was unlikely as well because it is a stealth drone.

"It would be almost impossible for Iran to shoot down an RQ-170 because it is stealthy; therefore, the Iranian air defenses can't see it," said Thompson. "Partly for the same reason, it is exceedingly unlikely that they used a cyber attack to bring down the aircraft."

While the Pentagon may disagree with how the drone was brought down, it's not arguing that an aircraft is indeed missing. U.S. Army Lt. Col. Jimmie Cummings, spokesman for NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF)-Afghanistan, said that he cannot confirm if the missing aircraft is a RQ-170.

However, Thompson said that all signs point to the RQ-170 Sentinel as the missing drone. He added that the Sentinel likely malfunctioned and crashed, and was probably not shot down or attacked in any way by Iran. The fact that the drone was lost indicates that there was likely a software problem.

If this is the case, Iran has a useless weapon on its hand. Many worried that the Iranian military could extract secrets behind U.S. military technologies by possessing the drone, but with hardware or software malfunctions, the aircraft is useless in providing what they're looking for.

Even if the Sentinel is useless at this point, the crash has raised doubts about the use of unmanned stealth drones and their abilities.

Source: Defense News

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RE: Useless?
By bah12 on 12/7/2011 1:27:00 PM , Rating: 2
Which is most likely what they will do. Iran talks a big game, but doesn't really want a direct conflict with us. However they will do all they can to make our lives difficult, so selling this to China would be a good start.

The Chinese are by far the biggest pink elephant in the room no one wants to talk about. They have the funds and resources to actually do something with this tech, and whatever that is it wouldn't be very good for us in the long run. But hey by now they've probably hacked the DOD enough, that they don't need to reverse engineer it, they probably have the full plans :)

RE: Useless?
By Cypherdude1 on 12/8/2011 3:27:19 AM , Rating: 1
Incredible. The US practically gave the Iranians one of our top secret technologies. If it wasn't ready for deployment, why did the US use it? It appears that Lockheed Martin or the USAF pushed for deployment too quickly and now the Iranians have it. I can't even believe it.

Perhaps Lockheed Martin or the USAF wanted to give the Iranians a Christmas gift.

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