New photo shows that China has really copied the U.S. RQ-170 Sentinel stealth drone

The following image, grabbed by Chinese forums, is circulating on the Internet.

RQ-170 copy

Image source: http://hobbyshanghai.com.cn/

It allegedly shows a series of brand new UAVs (unamanned aerial vehicles) one of those resembles the famous Lockheed Martin RQ-170 Sentinel, one of those was captured in Iran in 2011.

Last Februrary, Iran released footage that proves it has, if not literally decoded, at least accessed some of the data stored inside the U.S. stealthy RQ-170 drone captured in December 2011.

Previously, in Aug. 2012, The Aviationist published an article titled: Chinese delegation currently in Iran to copy the U.S. stealthy RQ-170 drone captured in 2011 about the news that a group of 17 Chinese expert had visited Iran not only to inspect, but also to collect and bring back to China some key components of the U.S. RQ-170 drone captured by Iran in December 2011.

That article ended with the following text:

“As already explained when commenting Iran’s claims that they had decoded the stealthy drone, while the internal memories were (probably) automatically erased as a consequence of the loss of control procedure and data will never been recovered, the circuitry, lenses, sensors have probably survived the mysterious crash landing.

Therefore they can be evaluated and tested.

And copied, one of the tasks China does better.

If the above image is genuine, China has already cloned the stealthy drone the U.S. lost (almost intact) in Iran.

Last week Iranian officials claimed they are ready to fly their own RQ-170 copy as well.

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About David Cenciotti 3645 Articles
David Cenciotti is a freelance journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written four books.