Drone Snoops over Iran

23.12.09

Categorie: Air, David Axe, Iran, Robots |

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by DAVID AXE

As Iran continues to tease the world regarding its murky nuclear ambitions, the U.S., Israel and other powers keep positioning themselves for possible attacks on Iranian targets. One key will be accurate intelligence on Iranian nuke facilities and air-defense networks. In the last two weeks, it’s become increasingly clear that drone aircraft are playing a big role in developing that intel.

After a year of hazy reports by French reporters and Aviation Week‘s Bill Sweetman, this month the U.S. Air Force finally confirmed the existence of its RQ-170 Sentinel stealthy, flying-wing spy drone. As the Lockheed Martin-built Sentinel has twice been spotted flying out of Kandahar in southern Afghanistan, Sweetman dubbed it the “Beast of Kandahar.” It’s not clear why the coalition would need a stealthy drone in Afghanistan, Air Force Times pointed out:

Experts such as Phil Finnegan, a UAV analyst at the Teal Group, an aerospace consulting firm, suggest [Beast's] stealth capabilities are being used to fly in nearby countries. Neighboring Iran has an air force and air defense system that would require stealth technology to penetrate.  

Just a week later, Israeli drone-maker Elbit unveiled its new Hermes 900 recon drone, which The Jerusalem Post saidis capable of carrying out surveillance missions thousands of kilometers from Israel, including over Iran.”

(Photo: Air & Cosmos)

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8 Responses to “Drone Snoops over Iran”

  1. [...] The program should relaunch shortly, perhaps feeding off tech developed for the Air Force’s recently-unveiled, stealthy spy drone, the [...]

  2. [...] could shut down industrial (and nuclear) operations could explain why the Air Force has been flying stealthy RQ-170 drones near Iran. The NGJ could expand on that apparent capability. Never mind the F-22 and its [...]

  3. [...] why Marc Ambinder from National Journal believes the RQ-170 participated in the May 2 raid. The elusive bat-wing UAV, built by Lockheed Martin, is probably stealthy enough to evade Pakistani radars, flies high enough [...]

  4. [...] why Marc Ambinder from National Journal believes the RQ-170 participated in the May 2 raid. The elusive bat-wing UAV, built by Lockheed Martin, is probably stealthy enough to evade Pakistani radars, flies high enough [...]

  5. [...] Above is a timeline of the evolution of the RQ-170 Sentinel aircraft. At least one analyst speculated in December 2009 that the aircraft could be used to fly over Iranian airspace: [...]

  6. […] why Marc Ambinder from National Journal believes the RQ-170 participated in the May 2 raid. The elusive bat-wing UAV, built by Lockheed Martin, is probably stealthy enough to evade Pakistani radars, flies high enough […]

  7. […] could shut down industrial (and nuclear) operations could explain why the Air Force has been flying stealthy RQ-170 drones near Iran. The NGJ could expand on that apparent […]

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