RQ-170 captured by Iran
Iran displays captured US RQ-170 Sentinel drone

On December 8 Tehran came out open displaying footage of the captured RQ-170 drone which seems in pristine condition. Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Aerospace Forces Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh inspecting his newly gained trophy. The drone shown on Iran television appears to be in remarkably good condition ‘inconsistent with an uncontrolled landing’, the New York Times said. In fact, Danger Room suggest the drone shown by the Iranians may be a fake. Iran explains the were able to capture the drone almost intact as it was lured into a ‘trap’ set by their electronic combat forces.

Although the drone was reportedly shot down by Iran’s air defense, its upper surface seems to be intact except for few dents to the leading edge. More extensive damage may be at the bottom. As it is covered by propaganda billboards and camouflage nets, it may hint about more extensive damage caused by hard landing. Iranian sources claim that their electronic combat units took part in the incident, assumingly intercepting, ‘hijacking’ or otherwise disrupting the drone’s control link in a way that denied it from returning to Afghanistan.

Noteworthy details in this video are the air intake grill, designed to mask radar echoes from the turbine surface. Also notable are the masking tape used to cover seams wing-body blending, and various locations on the top of the wing. Aerodynamic surfaces are placed throughout the wing trailing edge, with more elements extracted from the surface (spoilers?). The strange bulges over the wings are sealed, and may have access from below. According to Iranian published data, the drones wing span is 25 meter, 4.5 m’ long and two meters high.

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