Iran Downs US Drone
Iran’s military has shot down a U.S. reconnaissance drone aircraft in eastern Iran and has threatened to respond to the violation of Iranian airspace, a military source told state television on Sunday.
The RQ-170 Sentinel is an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) developed by Lockheed Martin and operated by the United States Air Force (USAF). It has been deployed to Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.
Responding to the drone claim, U.S. Col. Barry Johnson — a military spokesman in neighboring Iraq — told CNN Sunday that, “I have no operational report that indicates anything happened.”
If you scroll the map to the right, you will notice that Iran and Pakistan share a large border to the south all the way to the Arabian Sea. This area appears to be largely uninhabited, but gives some credence to the reason why a drone tasked to hunt Taliban in Pakistan might find itself over Iranian airspace, if in fact that is where it was, and was actually shot down.
The drone looks mighty stealthy. It will be interesting to see if the Iranians are not lying once again:
In July, Iranian state-run media quoted an Iranian lawmaker who claimed that Iran shot down a U.S.spy aircraft near the Fordu nuclear site. Iran’s Revolutionary Guard later refuted the report.
This map indicates there are no nuclear sites in Eastern Iran.
From the AP in Tehran:
Iran’s armed forces have shot down an unmanned US spy plane that violated Iranian airspace along its eastern border.
19:00: From the LAT:
REPORTING FROM TEHRAN AND BEIRUT — A drone that Iranian officials claimed to have taken down may be an unarmed U.S. reconnaissance aircraft that went missing over western Afghanistan late last week, according to U.S.-led forces in that country…
[Updated, 3.30 p.m., Dec. 4, 2011: Some initial reports out of Iran suggested the drone had been shot down. But the semi-official Fars news agency, which is close to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, quoted a military official as saying that Iran’s electronic warfare unit had managed to take control of the aircraft and bring it “under their possession.”]