You may recall that an American military RQ-170 drone crashed in Iran in December and the government of that nation promptly announced that it intended to reverse engineer the craft and have drones of their own. Now, Iran is saying that it’s figured out how to do just that.
According to the AP, Iranian Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, chief of the aerospace division of the Revolutionary Guards, is sharing information that he claims demonstrates deep access to the drone’s data:
Hajizadeh claimed that the drone flew over Osama Bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan two weeks before the al-Qaida leader was killed there in May 2011 by U.S. Navy SEALs. He did not say how the Iranian experts knew this.
Before that, he said, “this drone was in California on Oct. 16, 2010, for some technical work and was taken to Kandahar in Afghanistan on Nov. 18, 2010. It conducted flights there but apparently faced problems and (U.S. experts) were unable to fix it,” he said.
Hajizadeh said the drone was taken to Los Angeles in December 2010 where sensors of the aircraft underwent testing at an aerospace factory.
For its part, American officials are claiming that there is very little to be gleaned from just looking at one drone and that Iran has a history of over the top rhetorical puffery. So, in short, everyone is saying pretty much what you’d expect them to say and its impossible to know for sure what’s actually happening.