Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Advanced RQ-170 Sentinel Drone Stealth Aircraft On A Top Secret Mission, Now Confirmed By US, Fatally Compromised Down Near Iranian Border



""The stealth drone that Iran says it shot down last week was involved in a CIA fact finding mission involving the Agency and US military forces in Afghanistan.

CNN spoke to two US officials who said they didn't believe the drone was flying in Iranian airspace because the RQ-170 is capable of drawing intel outside the country's borders.

This is the first time US officials have conceded the lost drone was, in fact, an advanced RQ-170 Sentinel.

After the drone's crash officials looked at all options for retrieving or bombing the wreckage, but all were rejected as "impractical."

While officials still refute the Iranian claims that they took the drone down electronically, Tehran did receive this mobile Russian jamming device six-weeks prior to the incident.""



""Navy Capt. John Kirby told reporters that he could not elaborate much on a vaguely worded statement Sunday that acknowledged an American drone had gone missing, other than to try to quash Iranian claims it had been shot down.
Kirby and Pentagon Press Secretary George Little would not address Iran's claims, confirm what kind of drone was missing or discuss whether there were potential security concerns if it had, in fact, fallen into Iranian hands.

"These are sensitive reconnaissance missions and we don't talk about those missions as a general rule," Little said.

As to whether the Pentagon worries a Sentinel downed in Iran might represent a security risk for American technology, Kirby said: "We're always concerned when there's an aircraft, whether manned or unmanned, that we lose in a place that we're not able to get to it."

News of the missing drone emerged over the weekend when semi-official Iranian news agencies reported the Iranian military's claim that it had shot down an American surveillance aircraft over its eastern border.
The Iranian news reports said the drone was an RQ-170 Sentinel, a secret, advanced, low-observable unmanned aerial vehicle once nicknamed "The Beast of Kandahar" after it was first spotted in unofficial photographs at an air base in Afghanistan.

The International Security Assistance Force, which commands the NATO presence in Afghanistan, issued this single-sentence statement on Sunday: "The UAV to which the Iranians are referring may be a US unarmed reconnaissance aircraft that had been flying a mission over western Afghanistan late last week.  The operators of the UAV lost control of the aircraft and had been working to determine its status."""



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