Four months after capturing a crashed U.S. stealth drone near the Iran-Afghanistan border, Tehran claims it has hacked into the ‘bot’s classified mission-control system. If true, it could mean Iran is making good on its vow to reverse-engineer the stealthy, Lockheed Martin-built RQ-170 Sentinel spy drone and produce homemade copies.
But that’s not likely. “Based on my experience,” Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, a former CIA director, told reporters, “I would seriously question their ability to do what they say they’ve done.” A Pentagon drone program manager was far more blunt. Speaking to Danger Room on condition of anonymity, the program manager said Iran’s claim “sounds like complete bullshit.”
No one wants to talk on the record about the super-secret Sentinel. The Air Force declined Danger Room’s requests for comment. So did Lockheed Martin. But they may not need to say anything. Iran’s public comments about the RQ-170 do a pretty good job of debunking themselves.
Iran has a long history of faking major weapons developments. That said, many observers — myself included — at first believed Iran was lying about capturing the Sentinel. That, at least, turned out to be true.