Exclusive: first high-resolution close-up pictures of the stealth drone in Iran. With signs of belly landing.

Dec 08 2011 - 52 Comments

After reading my previous article about the RQ-170 seized by Iran (Breaking: Iran news agency releases first images of captured U.S. stealthy drone), “Jeff” a visitor of my site suggested where to download the first hi-resolution pictures of the almost intact “Beast of Kandahar”.

Images seems to confirm that the drone is real, of a desert-like color (quite different from the dark grey one of all the previous pictures) and above all, small scratches appear on the left wing, as if the stealthy drone crash landed on its belly, without extracting the landing gear, or maybe because the undercarriage collapsed due to hard landing.

Update: weird signs appear also on both wing roots as if they were damaged too. Someone suggesting it is putty and that proves the drone is just a 1:1 scale model.

Once again, stay tuned.

Image credit: via “Jeff” for TheAviationist.com

  • http://gravatar.com/mnair69 Manoj

    Looks like a fake.

    • Byah!

      I think its a fake too. Electronic jamming device? Yeah right. Plus that thing looks cheap. If duck tape is the answer, then they have decades of reverse engineering and experimentation to do. Get over it warmongers, Iran is not a threat to the U.S.

      Either America is messing with the middle east again, or its Iranian propaganda. I wish we, Americans, would decide to just leave the world to its own business and quietly retire to this paradise of a country we have.We’ve barely tapped our own energy resources for cryin out loud. This century should be one of aggressive business and innovation, not the same stupid religious bullshit and power grabbing that still rules us.

      • James

        I light of Isreal’s poised to strike Iran. I have come to the conclusion that this is a real trojan horse. I think Iran should be very careful.

  • ToivoS

    Amazing commentary here. It must a fake! This requires the Iranians building a real life model and showing it to the whole world right at the time the US admits it “lost contact” with that exact same model. This means that the Iranians announced the capture and the US admitted at exactly the same time that they lost the same model.

    Dear folks who believe the Iranians have fabricated this story it sounds you are in deep denial as to the ability of Iran to defend themselves. Keep on believing in your nonsense — perhaps you guys will only be convinced when the Iranians sink a few US warships in the Persian in the next ME war you obviously wish for.

    • goon

      Is it so far outside the realm of possibilities for the Iranians to fabricate a story in order to win domestic support and stick their thumbs in the eyes of the West?

      It’s not like they’ve tried similar PR tactics in the past in order to trump up their military abilities…..

      oh wait

      http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/07/10/in-an-iranian-image-a-missile-too-many/
      The images speak for themselves

      Iran’s super awesome new fighter jet!!!1
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saegeh
      Sorry it’s just the F-5 with a replaced single vertical stabilizer so it now has TWO. *cues the “oohs and aahs”*

      Iran’s super awesome new gun ship!!!one!!1
      http://www.airliners.net/photo/Iran—Revolutionary/Shahed-285-A/1857610/L/&sid=803a3d1cff291665310fc76fea6b06ab
      Wait sorry. Another horrible mockup of an already existing design slapped together in order to instill fear.

      The best part of all of this? Why would the Iranians keep what is supposedly the biggest intelligence coup for them ever in the gymnasium of what seems to be a surface facility (note the windows)?

      https://cencio4.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/3.jpg
      I do appreciate what appears to be masking tape (and black electrical tape near the front?) holding the wings onto the fuselage. Bet that really hides the radar cross section well.

      https://cencio4.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/3.jpg
      Or this one where the access panel seems to be drawn on in sharpie. Oh my, gotta love high resolution.

      What I think happened:
      1. the CIA obviously fubar’d a recon over Iranian airspace and the drone malfunctioned
      2. the Iranians were able to notice the drone and decided to light it up with every type of ECM they have and it somehow derp’d when it should have herp’d and it crashed
      3. the operator was unable to maintain control.

      If the latter occurred (most likely) then it would no doubt ‘circle’ until contact was reestablished. It wasn’t recoverable and it finally hit into the ground sometime later after going well beyond bingo fuel (be in a rough landing or the preferred leaf spin). The Iranians found the wreckage and never letting an opportunity pass them to show the Great Satan of the West how much we suck decided to commission their Tehran civic fair grand prize winner in last year’s sculpting event to make this thing up. The story of them having ECM capable of not only interrupting the control signal, but overtaking and diverting the drone is something tantamount to a bad Tom Clancy novel.

      tl;dr
      Iranian dick waving that you’re lapping up by the spoonful.

      • http://gravatar.com/iranaware1 iranaware1Jeff

        your forgetting their other drone, lol
        http://previous.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=139709
        the Karar drone… These guys just trying to look good in front of their people, to keep the green movement stamped down..

      • Come at me bro….

        Full of herp and derp. Your reply is weak. The electronic suit which self destructed makes it what it is.
        That was destryoed. The stealth airframe is old news. Not a goon but you are a loon. Go back to playing with the rest of them.

  • Jim

    lol 3 layers of homing becon insures that any lost drone wud be blowin to fish heaven. is it was real i wud get as far away from it as poss.

  • RodBrownlie

    Come on Trigger have a day off!!!! its a very poor mock up its not even the same wingspan for crying out loud !!!!!! whata bunch of clowns in fact its more likely to be a prop for the clown school that is the iranian military the only thing they are good at is kidnapping

  • Toby Cn

    Praise Obama!

  • sr

    Looks like they got pieces of a crashed drone and tried to hack them together with whatever was on hand real quick for a photo op. Maybe parts are real but the whole thing isn’t.

  • Moises alonso

    One would think that the u.s. governmemt would have had a self destruct mechanism built into this craft.. but once again our governmemt has failed us.

    • http://cencio4.wordpress.com/ David Cenciotti

      Here you find the latest updates:
      http://theaviationist.com/2011/12/12/lost-drone/ about the possibility that the one displayed was actually a drone made up of different pieces
      http://theaviationist.com/2011/12/11/propaganda/ about an alleged RQ-170 video that was actually a doctored LM Polecat drone promo video

      I don’t think self-kill switches are used on drones. Explosive must be handled with care and poses serious risks at ground personnel involved with the handling of the drone. It’s a matter of tradeoff between ops safety and opsec. I think the auto-erase function of the data is considered enough.

      • Mark

        Try to break consumer encryption: For example the free-ware program TrueCrypt.

        Do you think military encryption will be easier to decrypt?

  • http://gravatar.com/iranaware1 iranaware1Jeff

    Look at the top hatch pics from the right front side.. You know when you cut out a square inside a piece of wood and you cut to far? it appears the cut goes a couple inches past the turn.. I agree and think its either a sloppy fake or being held together by tape, superglue and all them tables under it.

  • Mark

    Iran is not able to use any off the technology.

    Do you really think the drone, the RQ-170 Sentinel contains the latest, top secret avionics?!

    China will probably welcome some of the Stealth technology, but without the satellite “remote control”, the drone is not intercontinental operable for no one!

    Iran can’t even produce highly needed spare parts for their 20 year old American fighter-jets…

    Iran can’t even stop the pre-emptive Mossad-strikes on their key military installations :))

  • Dan

    Futzing around with Photoshop, if you rotate image 2 or 4 to horizontal, then copy, flip horizontally, and paste, you can see that the thing is not very symmetrical. The grid opening seems very sloppy when you compare it to an inverted copy of it.

    • http://theaviationist.com/ David Cenciotti

      Hi Dan,
      here’s a post about the weird shape of the drone:
      http://theaviationist.com/2011/12/19/rq170-hatch/

      • Dan

        Thanks, David, I’ll have a look at that one. I’m sure you are much more knowledgeable than I am, I just found it interesting that the thing seems so hand-made — very much like it was carved out of a foam block or something.

  • Dan

    I’d like to add that the top corner of the grid on the side with the two strips of black tape on the wing, is slightly higher than on the other side — it’s the same in photos 2 and 4, which kind of makes me think the asymmetry isn’t necessarily due to the angle of the photograph. It’s way more apparent in image 4 — it’s possible to get the top hatch lined up almost perfectly with its inverse, and still the grid opening is totally lopsided.