Video from US drone captured by Iran shows it landing in Pakistan

Published: February 7, 2013

A US RQ-170 unmanned spy plane displayed in front of a Iranian flag with Persian script that reads "Down with the US, down with Israel and down with Britain" at an unknown location, in undated picture received December 8, 2011. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

TEHRAN: Iranian state television aired video footage on Thursday that it says was extracted from a CIA drone it captured inside it’s airspace in December 2011, which it claimed showed the aircraft land at bases in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

In a documentary broadcast Wednesday, the elite Revolutionary Guards released the video, the first time it has been seen since the RQ-170 Sentinel was captured after it entered Iranian airspace from its eastern border with Afghanistan.

The Guards aerospace division, which said it seized the unmanned aircraft, it said the footage showed images of the drone landing at an airbase in Kandahar in Afghanistan, as well as at a base in Pakistan.

Iran has previously claimed that it brought down the drone electronically by “spoofing” its GPS guidance system. US officials have said that the Sentinel suffered a malfunction.

“By decoding data extracted from the drone, we found out that the aircraft had conducted many flights in Iran’s neighbouring countries,” Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, head of the Guards’ aerospace division, said in the broadcast.

The American military and the Central Intelligence Agency regularly use drones to launch missile strikes in Afghanistan and in Pakistan’s tribal belt, but do not generally confirm such raids.

Shortly after Iran announced the drone’s capture, the NATO-led military force in Afghanistan said the aircraft had been on a mission over western Afghanistan.

US media had reported fears in the United States that Iran could access and make use of the highly advanced technology used in the drone.

But a US official later cast doubts that “the Iranians have the expertise” to exploit the technology found in the aircraft.

The RQ-170 Sentinel is a high-altitude stealth reconnaissance drone made by Lockheed Martin. Its existence was exposed in 2009 by specialised reviews and later confirmed by the US Air Force in 2010.

Iran said in January that it was in possession of two more US-made RQ-11 reconnaissance drones it shot down over the previous 15 months, in addition to a ScanEagle drone and the RQ-170.

Reader Comments (9)

  • Padishah
    Feb 7, 2013 - 9:41PM

    Amazing, how advance Iranian scientists and computer programmers are. I am not surprised that our famous Commando gave all the bases for espionage over Iran etc., Why otherwise would the British and Americans give him money for security, for speaking. He was a usurper and everything could be expected of him.


  • Arijit Sharma
    Feb 7, 2013 - 9:44PM

    You allow these drones to operate out of Pakistan and in the same breath you have the gall to call Iran a brother Muslim country.


  • Raj - USA
    Feb 7, 2013 - 11:19PM

    @Arijit Sharma:
    That is called “Mooh mein Kithab ki bhai aur bagal mein Kanjar”


  • Raj - USA
    Feb 8, 2013 - 12:09AM

    If Iran had brought down the drone by spoofing its GPS guidance system, it is a great achievement.


  • Ali Asghar
    Feb 8, 2013 - 3:11PM

    IRAN has released its video while spoofing. US claims are unreal.


  • Nahmed
    Feb 8, 2013 - 3:18PM

    @Arijit Sharma:
    Same like you call Pakistan your neighbour and want MFN status while buidling over 65 dams to stop the water and make Pakistan a baren land.


  • gp65
    Feb 8, 2013 - 10:52PM

    @Nahmed: “@Arijit Sharma:
    Same like you call Pakistan your neighbour and want MFN status while buidling over 65 dams to stop the water and make Pakistan a baren land.”

    Some facts for you:
    1. MFN is not option. Every country who is member of WTO has to give it to every other country who is member of WTO. India gave it to Pakistan in 1996. It is India’s generosity that it has not complained about Pakistan’s lack of compliance on MFN
    2. PAkistan falsely accuses India of stealing its water. Pakistan’s own water commissioner said India was not stealing water and he was punished for saying the truth.
    3. Unlike Pakistan that believes in Ummah and says all Muslims are brothers, India does not make any such claims. India deals with all countries on the basis of India’s national interests. SO you are establishing a false equivalence there.


  • Iftikhar Khan
    Feb 11, 2013 - 7:01PM

    For our own betterment, Pakistan should do two things. 1) Kick out US operations and reduce their embassy staff to bare minimum. 2) Kick out TTP and punish all the extreamist and professional criminals justly and even handedly.

    Promise of rewards and fear of punishment from both US and TTP are nothing but mirage, we are half heartedly and out of fear appeasing both of them which is resulting in destruction of our country and more importantly our society.

    If there ever was a test of our real faith in Allah this is it.


  • FactCheck
    Feb 11, 2013 - 8:09PM

    I cannot imagine the designers didn’t have remote kill switch to thwart these types of eventualities.

    Coming soon to theater near you.

    If I can send commands to Mars to maneuver “Discovery”, I can destruct a drone remotely.


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