Iran Claims to Have Copied American Spy Drone

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, seated left, listens to an official during his visit at an aerospace exhibition in Tehran, Iran on May 11, 2014.

Iran claimed on Sunday that it has successfully recreated an American spy drone allegedly captured in 2011.
The Iranian Revolutionary Guard showed off the copy of the Lockheed Martin RQ-170 Sentinel drone during a ceremony in Tehran, before the country's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, according to reports by local news agencies.

In early December of 2011, the Iranian government claimed it had hacked an RQ-170 Sentinel drone, which allowed the country's cyberwarware unit to land and capture it intact near the city of Kashmar. The U.S. government, after initially denying the claim,confirmed it had lost a CIA drone in Iran.
Additionally, last year Iran claimed it had decoded footage from the drone's camera, releasing a video that purported to show parts of the footage.

Experts at the time indicated that the footage looked real, which made Iran's initial claims more credible.
It's impossible to know at this point whether Iran has really created a fully functional copy of the American drone, but that scenario is feasible.
"They surely have copied it externally," David Cenciotti, the founder of the blog The Aviationist, told Mashable. "Now, copying the internal systems is a whole another story. Although I don't feel like I can exclude that a priori."
Cenciotti points out in a blog post that China has already allegedly copied an RQ-170, so Iran might have been able to do the same, perhaps with some external help. After all, Cenciotti added, Iran is able to maintain relatively complex weapons systems like the F-14, which shows that Iranians "have the ability to work on technologies that perhaps are not cutting edge but at least modern."
Khamenei, through his semi-official Twitter account believed to be run by his office, took advantage of the ceremony to strike a defiant tone.

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