Print 36 comment(s) - last by fteoath64.. on Dec 16 at 4:03 AM

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

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

RE: Useless?
By bah12 on 12/7/2011 1:34:43 PM , Rating: 2
Yah but that is the gamble you play with stealth tech. Inevitably part of one is bound to fall into enemy hands.

Personally I don't see why (or maybe they do), they don't have a redundant fail safes on board that do the best they can to self destruct under certain circumstances.

Something like.. lose ping to base for more than x seconds...climb to max altitude and crater yourself. Fall below x altitude without command to do so...blow up.

Of course nothing is foolproof but it would be shocking if one of these could go down in any way without a fail safe doing something.

If they indeed end up with a mostly intact craft (even if the electronics have fried), then I'd consider that a pretty big design flaw. I'm sure a couple of sticks of C4 an some programming would be all it would take to ensure nice bite size pieces.

RE: Useless?
By Spuke on 12/7/2011 1:41:16 PM , Rating: 2
Personally I don't see why (or maybe they do), they don't have a redundant fail safes on board that do the best they can to self destruct under certain circumstances.
Sometimes it doesn't work.

RE: Useless?
By PrinceGaz on 12/7/2011 3:02:22 PM , Rating: 2
The whole point of redundant fail-safes is that one of them will almost certainly work, especially in a drone where the default action if all contact is lost/sensors disabled or malfunctioning/etc should really be to self-destruct.

I find it difficult to imagine a scenario where a drone would be unable to self-destruct, assuming it did have independent self-destruct systems onboard to prevent the technology falling into enemy hands.

RE: Useless?
By Ringold on 12/7/2011 3:12:36 PM , Rating: 3
I'm really buying the trojan horse/fake crash idea. That there wasn't a self-destruct, that they found it largely intact, and that we didnt send some sort of black ops team to recover/destroy it (or just a cruise missile) makes me suspicious.

Heh. Perhaps they planted a USB stick labeled "Miniaturized Nuclear Warhead Design For Dummies" in it, complete with another Stuxnet-style virus. :P

Or maybe the military actually messed up. By the time the truth comes out, we'll all be much older.

RE: Useless?
By wordsworm on 12/7/2011 7:54:33 PM , Rating: 2
By the time the truth comes out, we'll all be much older.

You're optimistic.

RE: Useless?
By fteoath64 on 12/16/2011 4:03:28 AM , Rating: 2
Maybe a failsafe self-destruct is only active during a crash impact like using a "crash-sensor" but this thing landed by itself so did not crash. There you go, not designed into.

Besides, military probably did not include any self-destruct into the craft since they never expected any to be captured. Besides, any self-destruct mechanism, if malfunctioned will be disastrous to their home crew!. At the cost of at least $25M a piece, this is just surveillance equipment.

RE: Useless?
By tng on 12/7/2011 1:50:53 PM , Rating: 2
...have a redundant fail safes...
I understand that they are programed to go to set of coordinates and circle if they lose communication. However that wont work if some part of the control electronics fail or if there is mechanical malfunction.

"If you look at the last five years, if you look at what major innovations have occurred in computing technology, every single one of them came from AMD. Not a single innovation came from Intel." -- AMD CEO Hector Ruiz in 2007

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki