On Sunday, Iran revealed that it had successfully manufactured a copy of a United States stealth drone. The original drone was captured in 2011 when the Iranian Armed Forces’ electronic warfare unit took over the aircraft and safely landed it.
The Iranian government has worked to replicate the drone for the past three years. Late last year, Tasnim News Agency reported that Iran had “managed to reverse engineer most parts” of the drone.
The finished drone was displayed at a ceremony on Sunday; it was placed alongside the American drone.
In addition to taking control of the drone, Iranian military forces have also reportedly been able to decode the surveillance footage and upload it to the internet. Although Iran maintains that they posted the video on Youtube, CNN is unable to verify that the grainy black and white footage is authentic.
The drone is a Lockheed Martin RQ-170 Sentinel UAV, which is a stealth aircraft fitted with reconnaissance equipment. Prior to this incident, the public had little knowledge about the aircraft, but the Iranian Military released many photos and videos in later years.
Iran has already built the first copy of the US drone, and they report that they are capable of launching their own production line for the unmanned aircraft.
In the original drone incident, the CIA claimed they had lost control of the drone while doing routine surveillance of Iran’s nuclear facilities. However, Iranian cyber warfare teams had actually jammed the drone’s satellite and fed the drone false GPS coordinates, causing it to land.
A month after the drone was captured, Obama requested that Iran return the drone to the US, but Gen. Hossein Salami angrily rejected Obama’s requests.
Gen. Salami, former deputy commander of Iran’s military, stated, “No nation welcomes other countries’ spy drones in its territory, and no one sends back the spying equipment and its information back to the country of origin.”
Conflicts between the US and Iran have only grown since the 2011 drone incident, since many Western nations have been repeatedly demanding that Tehran restrict its missile power.
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has been extremely vocal in expressing his frustration with Iranian’s national security. “They expect restricting Iran’s missile program while they are continuously raising military threats against Iran. Hence, such an expectation is idiotic and insane.”
Now that Iran has its own stealth drone, the tensions concerning world peace grow tighter as nations warily observe each other from afar.