A team of senior Iranian lawmakers are due to visit Iran’s Persian Gulf islands to be personally briefed about the way the country’s military hunted down a hostile US drone earlier this month, parliamentary sources told FNA on Monday.
“The members of the parliament’s National Security (and Foreign Policy Commission) have decided to visit the trio islands to be closely informed of the Navy’s activities,” Vice-Chairman of the Commission Mansour Haqiqatpour told FNA on Monday.
Yet, he said the visit to the three Iranian islands of Abu Musa, the Greater Tunb and the Lesser Tunb in the Persian Gulf will be “specifically aimed at studying the hunting of the US drone”.
On December 4, Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Navy Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi announced that his forces had 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. American officials have described the loss of the aircraft in Iran as a setback and a fatal blow to their 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.