Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Aerospace Force Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh rejected some reports that Chinese or Russians have been aiding Iran in capturing enemy aircraft which violate the country’s airspace, and said the entire operation takes place by Iranian experts and know-how.
“We have no cooperation with any country, including China and Russia, for entrapping or using enemy drones,” Hajizadeh told reporters here in Tehran on Monday.
The commander pointed to the recent capture of the US ScanEagle by the IRGC, and stressed that the development is 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.
On December 4, Commander of the IRGC Navy Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi announced that his forces hunted a US Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) over the Persian Gulf after the drone violated the country’s airspace.
The UAV which had conducted several reconnaissance flights over the Persian Gulf general zone in the past few days was caught and brought under control by air defense units and control systems of the IRGC Navy.
The IRGC navy commander announced that the hunted UAV was a ScanEagle drone, adding that “such drones are usually launched from large warships.”
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.