Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Aerospace Force Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh announced that the Iranian version of the RQ-170 drone with the capability of conducting bombing and reconnaissance missions has had its first flight after tests. “We had promised to fly the final model of RQ-170 in the second half of the current (Iranian) year (which started on March 21) and this has happened and the footage of its flight will be released soon,” Hajizadeh told reporters in Tehran on Monday morning.
Elaborating on the Iranian version of the RQ-170 drone which has been manufactured through the reverse engineering of the US drone which was tracked and hunted down in Iran late in 2011 and has been equipped by the IRGC with bombing capability, Hajizadeh had informed in September that “the prototype model of this drone (which was 60% smaller than the original drone in size) flew about three months ago and God willing, the final model of the plane will fly this year”.
He said that the Americans themselves had also thought of providing the drone with bombing capability and foreseen some special parts for mounting bombs on the aircraft. Yet, they used it for reconnaissance and spying operations, he said.
“But we will use it for both missions,” continued the General.
Also in his September remarks, Hajizadeh referred to the downing of the US RQ-170 drone in 2011, and said more important than using its technology had been the “disclosure of the Americans’ most advanced capabilities and weak points to us”.