U.S. officials thought about deploying Special Forces to recapture or demolish components of an RQ-170 Sentinel spy drone that went down in eastern Iran last week. “No one warmed up to the option of recovering it or destroying it because of the potential it could become a larger incident,” an official told The Wall Street Journal on condition of anonymity. If detected, the commando raid might have been considered an “act of war” by Tehran, the official added.
The circumstances of the bat-shaped CIA-operated RQ-170’s tumble are slowly becoming clearer. Iran’s state media claimed that an “electronic-warfare” unit, possibly a Russian-supplied “Avtobaza” signal-jammer, interrupted the stealthy drone’s command signal and caused it to crash “with little damage.”
U.S. sources countered that claim, saying the RQ-170 likely suffered some kind of serious breakdown while cruising at high altitude. There’s no evidence the crash can be attributed to “hostile activity of any kind,” according to Capt. John Kirby, a Pentagon spokesman.