A senior Iranian military official has provided detailed information about the US drone that Iran downed in December, saying all the intelligence stored on the drone have now been compromised.
“More than 50 years of US technology, whether in the unmanned or piloted aircraft sector, have been brought together in this spy aircraft,” Commander of the Aerospace Division of Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Brigadier General Amir-Ali Hajizadeh said, Fars News Agency reported.
On December 4, the Iranian military's electronic warfare unit announced that the country had successfully downed a US RQ-170 Sentinel stealth reconnaissance aircraft inside Iran with minimal damage.
The aircraft, designed and developed by the American company Lockheed Martin, had crossed into Iranian airspace over the border with neighboring Afghanistan.
Hajizadeh said Iran cannot disclose too much information about the drone since the aircraft is a “national asset” and for intelligence purposes.
“However, I will drop four hints [regarding the drone] for the Americans so they will know the extent of our knowledge of [the intelligence systems of] this aircraft,” Hajizadeh added.
Hajizadeh said due to some technical problems the aircraft components had been transferred to California, US, on October 17, 2010 and after overhauls and test flights the drone was re-commissioned to Kandahar, Afghanistan, on November 19, 2010.
The commander said the drone had experienced some technical flaws in its Kandahar flights in November, but US experts failed to fix the problems at the time.
Hajizadeh added that the RQ-170 was then sent back to an airfield near Los Angeles in December 2010 for tests on its censors and devices and had had a number of test flights before returning to Kandahar.
As a fourth hint to prove Iran's access to the drone's hidden memory, the commander said the spy drone memory device had revealed that it had flown over the slain al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden's hideout in Pakistan two weeks before his death.
“If we did not have access to the aircraft's software and hard discs, we would not have been able to achieve these data," Hajizadeh said, reiterating that Iranian military experts are in full command of the drone and have good knowledge of its parts and programs.