Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Aerospace Forces Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh Thursday evening appeared in a TV report to explain how Iranian forces downed the United States’ highly advanced radar-evading spy drone last week.
“Recently, our collected intelligence and precise electronic monitoring revealed that this aircraft intended to infiltrate our country’s airspace for spying missions,” the General said, and added, “After it entered the Eastern parts of the country, this aircraft fell into the trap of our armed forces and was downed in Iran with minimum damage.”
“The wing-to-wing width of the RQ-170 Sentinel drone is around 26 meters with a length of 4.5 meters and height of 1.84 meters.”
“The drone is equipped with highly advanced surveillance, data gathering, electronic communication and radar systems,” he continued.
“As far as its platform and coating are concerned, this kind of plane has been designed to evade radar systems and from the view point of technology it is amongst the most recent types of advanced aircraft used by the US,” the IRGC commander added.
“The technology used in this aircraft had already been used in B2 and F35 planes,” Hajizadeh said, and added, “This aircraft is controlled and guided through satellite link and land stations in Afghanistan and the Untied States.”
“Military experts are well aware how precious the technological information of this drone is,” he reiterated.
The unmanned surveillance plane lost by the United States in Iran was a stealth aircraft being used for secret missions by the CIA, US officials admitted earlier this week.
The aircraft is among the highly sensitive surveillance platform in the CIA’s fleet that was shaped and designed to evade enemy defenses.
The mission of the downed drone remains unclear. The RQ-170 has been used by the CIA for highly sensitive missions into other nations’ airspace, including months of surveillance of the compound in Pakistan in which Osama bin Laden was hiding before he was killed in a May raid by Special Operations forces.
Current and former US defense officials said even the US military cannot use such a highly sophisticated stealth aircraft as it is in relatively short supply and is only flown by the CIA.
Iran announced on Sunday that its defense forces downed the aircraft through a sophisticated cyberattack.
The drone is the first such loss by the US.
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.