“We are among the leading countries in the development of drones tasked with reconnaissance, surveillance and of course other military missions, and I state very powerfully that the drone, ScanEagle, is lagging behind our national drone technologies,” IRGC Lieutenant Commander Brigadier General Hossein Salami said on Tuesday.
He further added that Iran is now using drones with high flight endurance and high operational, radar evading and imaging capabilities.
Earlier this month, Commander of the IRGC Aerospace Force Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh had also said that the recent capture of the US ScanEagle by the IRGC was nothing new as Iran had previously captured a similar drone and even copied it for production.
“ScanEagle had been in our possession before and we have even copied it in production,” Hajizadeh underscored at the time.
On December 4, Fadavi announced that his forces hunted a US Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) over the Persian Gulf after the drone violated the country’s airspace.
ScanEagle is a small, low-cost, long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicle built by Insitu, a subsidiary of Boeing.
As standard payload ScanEagle carries either an inertially stabilized electro-optical or an infrared camera. The gimbaled camera allows the operator to easily track both stationary and moving targets, providing real-time intelligence.
Capable of flying above 16,000 feet, the UAV has also demonstrated the ability to provide persistent low-altitude reconnaissance.
The development came exactly a year after Iran announced on December 4, 2011 that its defense forces had downed a US RQ-170 drone through a sophisticated cyber attack.
The drone was the first such loss by the US. US officials have described the loss of the aircraft in Iran as a setback and a fatal blow to the stealth drone program.
The RQ-170 has special coatings and a batwing shape designed to help it penetrate other nations’ air defenses undetected. The existence of the aircraft, which is made by Lockheed Martin, has been known since 2009, when a model was photographed at the main US airfield in Kandahar, Afghanistan.