Authenticity of Iranian captured US drone questioned
时间：2019-09-08 责任编辑：梅萌尤 来源：澳门银河官网网址 点击：148 次
Iran's Revolutionary Guard have displayed an aircraft that they claimed was a US drone brought down over Iranian airspace. They said on Thursday it was downed by electronic means.
The US conceded it lost a drone based in western Afghanistan, which American newspaper reports said was part of a intensive surveillance campaign aimed at detecting a covert Iranian nuclear weapons programme. But weapons experts questioned the authenticity of the aircraft put on show by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).
In , two senior IRGC officers are seen inspecting the sand-coloured bat-wing aircraft, which appears intact.
The head of the IRGC air force, Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, said: "Recently, our collected intelligence and precise electronic monitoring revealed that this aircraft intended to infiltrate our country's airspace for spying missions. After it entered the eastern parts of the country, this aircraft fell into the trap of our armed forces and was downed in with minimum damage."
The Iranians said the aircraft, a RQ-170 Sentinel drone, had a 26-metre wingspan and was 4.5 metres long, and had been brought down 140 miles inside Iran, near the town of Kashmar.
"The drone is equipped with highly advanced surveillance, data gathering, electronic communication and radar systems," the general said.
The aircraft shown on Iranian television looked like the RQ-170 Sentinel made by Lockheed Martin, first spotted in Afghanistan in 2007. The same type of drone was used to provide surveillance of Osama bin Laden's compound in Pakistan before the May raid that killed the al-Qaida leader.
However, John Pike, an expert on military hardware at the GlobalSecurity.org thinktank in northern Virginia, said it was highly unlikely the Iranians had the technology to wrest control of the drone's navigation and bring it down so softly that it was left with barely a scratch.
"It looks like a parade float. For one thing, it looked remarkably intact for something that crashed, and the wings are drooping the wrong way.
"On the real thing, the wings go up at the end. This one's wings droop down," Pike said.
Other weapons experts speculated that the US drone could have been brought down by a Russian jamming and electronic warfare system called Avtobaza which Iran is reported to have bought from Moscow in the past few months.
Peter Singer, an expert on military robotics at the Brookings Institution in Washington said: "We have had drones whose computer programmes have gone wrong. We have accidentally jammed our own drones when they passed over convoys with IED [improvised explosive device] jamming devices, and we do know that the Iranians have got hold of some really good gear. So there are competing narratives."
The New York Times and the Washington Post reported that the lost RQ-170 was part of an increased US surveillance effort monitoring suspect nuclear sites in Iran, in the search for a parallel covert weapons programme that western policymakers fear may be hidden in tunnels and mine-shafts. Iran denies it has any such programme, insisting its nuclear programme is for exclusively peaceful purposes.
Unlike satellites, which can stay above a location for only a few minutes, drones have the capacity to linger over a particular site for hours, allowing intelligence analysts to observe patterns of activity there on which to base an assessment of its purpose. The drones may also be equipped with sensors to detect radioactive isotopes.
US press reports said that the American military had considered a special forces mission to retrieve the wreckage, but the operation was considered too risky.