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Ex-Pentagon official: Captured spy plane seems fake (???)

December 15 2011 at 12:40 AM
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Rainbow  (no login)

{{I have a couple of questions here:
1. It SEEMS to be a fake?? Don't they even know if a plane is missing and where it might have gone down, if it was missing? I suppose this former official wouldn't know, and is just guessing, but the U.S. should know if a plane is missing.
2. Why don't these unmanned planes have the technology to self destruct if they land or crash off course (on foreign soil)?}}

Ex-Pentagon official: Captured spy plane seems fake

The unmanned spy plane recently captured by Iran appears to be a fake, according to a former Pentagon official.

The former official, who saw video footage of the drone on display in Iran, said not only is it the wrong color, but also the welds along the wing joints do not appear to conform to the stealth design that helps it avoid radar detection. The official requested anonymity because he is not authorized to release information on the drone matter.

Iran said it managed to gain control of the RQ-170 Sentinel electronically and guide it down as it flew over its airspace.

The former official also questioned why the landing gear was covered up when displayed by the Iranian military. In the footage, the drone's underside is obscured with banners that read: "We'll trample America underfoot" and "The U.S. cannot do a damn thing."

Iran TV reported Wednesday that Iranian experts were still recovering data from the Sentinel, which has been used in stealth missions such as the surveillance operation on the Pakistan compound of Osama bin Laden before he was killed in a U.S. raid in May. Another U.S. drone aircraft, the MQ-9, crashed Tuesday at the Seychelles International Airport on the island of Mahe after developing engine problems, the Associated Press reported.

An Iranian member of parliament criticized former U.S. vice president Dick Cheney, who said President Obama should have ordered an airstrike into Iran to destroy the drone and deny Iranians access to its technology. "The Islamic Republic of Iran… can give a crushing response and cut off hands of anyone who wants to violate its air, navy and land borders," Kazem Jalali told ISNA, Iran's state media agency.

Jalali also criticized Obama for asking for the return of the drone after sending it to spy on Iran. "This is an astonishing remark by Obama, who has studied law," he said.

Cheney said the Iranians will likely "send (the drone) back in pieces after they've gotten all the intelligence they can out of it."

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said he did not believe Iran would agree to the U.S. request but told Fox News that the stealth drone campaign along the Iran-Afghan border would "absolutely" continue. "Our request for return of the drone is an appropriate request," Panetta said. "I don't expect that will happen, but I think it's important to make that request."

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