Iran’s state TV on Wednesday broadcast footage of an aircraft it says is a replica of a U.S. stealth drone captured in 2011.Unlike the US version of the RQ-170 Sentinel drone, which was produced and used exclusively for reconnaissance and spying operations, the Iranian version of the aforementioned drone, according to Gen. Hajizadeh, has the capability to conduct both reconnaissance and bombing missions.
The images, showing a black aircraft flying over mountainous terrain and arid lands before landing at an unnamed air base, were the first alleged proof that the Iranian-made version of the unmanned plane has actually been flown.
Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, head of the aerospace division of the elite Revolutionary Guard, said Iran will build at least two or three such drones before the end of the current Iranian calendar year, which falls on March 20, and will mass produce it next year...
Iran has said it managed to decode all of the data and reverse-engineer the RQ-170 Sentinel, seized in December 2011 after it entered Iranian airspace from neighboring Afghanistan, he added...
Iran says it has captured several American drones in recent years, including a less sophisticated Boeing-designed ScanEagle drone which entered Iranian airspace over the Persian Gulf. Tehran says it is also copying the ScanEagle and plans to put its version into service.
"We will use it for both missions," Gen. Hajizadeh said.
Incidentally, shortly after the Iranians captured the RQ-170 Sentinel drone in December of 2011, President Obama, in typical fashion, pleaded with the Iranian regime to return the drone.
"We have asked for it back — we'll see how the Iranians respond," the President told reporters at the time.
But the Iranians mockingly shrugged off and rebuffed Obama's groveling and servile plea.
Related Post from May 11, 2014: Iran Unveils Copied Version of Captured US Drone