December 3, 2011
Iran’s former Defense Minister says sensors used in a US RQ-170 spy drone, which was recently captured in eastern Iran, clearly prove that it had been designed to violate the country’s airspace.
Rear Admiral Ali Shamkhani said if the drone was meant to carry out spy missions along the Afghan border, it must have only carried photographic sensors because it would not need a monitoring system as well as thermal and spectrometer sensors which have been found in RQ-170.
“Meanwhile, such advanced planes are only available to the CIA and even America’s Defense Ministry, the Pentagon, does not have such drones,” he added.
“The type of sensors used in RQ-170 proves that it was meant to violate the Islamic Republic of Iran’s airspace. Therefore, the Americans must be answerable for their act of aggression,” Shamkhani, who currently heads the Strategic and Defense Research Center for the Iranian Armed forces said.
He added that the exact geographic coordinates where the drone was downed, the special equipment used in it and the timing of the incident “all prove that the Americans did not miscalculate and this was a completely deliberate act.”
Shamkhani said after Iran downed the spy drone, Washington initially denied that it had been lost.
“Today, they are clearly asking Iran to return the spy plane and this means that the US must be held accountable for its actions,” he added.
On Sunday December 4, the Iranian Army’s electronic warfare unit downed with minimum damage the US RQ-170 Sentinel stealth aircraft which was flying over the Iranian city of Kashmar, some 140 miles (225km) from the Afghan border.
Two days later, two US officials speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed that the drone had been part of a CIA reconnaissance mission, involving the US intelligence community stationed in Afghanistan.
On Monday, December 12, US President Barack Obama said his administration has delivered a formal request to Iran for the return of the drone
Iran has filed a lawsuit with the UN calling on the international body for “clear and effective measures to be taken to put an end to these dangerous and unlawful acts in line with the United Nations’ responsibilities.”
The RQ-170 is an unmanned stealth aircraft designed and developed by the Lockheed Martin Company.
Iran has announced that it intends to carry out reverse engineering on the aircraft, which is similar in design to a US Air Force B2 stealth bomber.