Iran unveils reverse-engineered version of captured U.S. RQ-170 stealth drone

May 11 2014 - 126 Comments

Tehran has just unveiled an indigenous version of the US RQ-170 Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) captured in December 2011.

During a ceremony held at Tehran on May 11, Iran unveiled an RQ-170 drone allegedly manufactured by reverse-engineering of U.S. Sentinel drone captured in December 2011. The Lockheed Martin’s Sentinel UAV was showcased next to the one that crash landed for (still unclear reasons) in northeastern Iran about three years ago.

Since the drone was recovered near the city of Kashmar, Iranian specialists had started studying the stealth UAV they captured.

In February 2013, a video proved that they had accessed some of the data stored inside the so called “Beast of Kandahar.”

After several unsubstantiated claims, the footage was the first evidence that Iran had found something interesting in the UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) and its internal hard disks.

“All the memories and computer systems of this plane have been decoded and some good news will be announced in the near future not just about the RQ-170 and the optimizations that our forces have done on the reversed engineered model of this drone, but also in area of other important defense achievements,” IRGC Lieutenant Commander General Hossein Salami said to the Fars News Agency last year.

RQ-170 Iran

It’s not clear whether the Sentinel-replica has already performed its maiden flight; nor is any eventual modification the Iranian engineers did to the original model. For sure, footage of the drone being flown in Iran would be the proof, the one displayed at Tehran today is something more than a model.

Iran has hunted/recovered two more UAV types since then: two RQ-11s and at least one ScanEagle that had penetrated the Iranian airspace from the Persian Gulf.

Anyway as images coming from China show, the RQ-170 has already been copied.

RQ-170 Iran 2

Image credit FARS News Agency


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  • nickwolf

    So, the bumps for satellite communication dishes…. I’m going to guess that for Iran they’re more aesthetic…

  • Probably made of cardboard or fiber glass.

  • ha

    whats up with the helicopter it looks like a toy

  • sferrin

    LOL. This is just sad. One could almost feel sorry for them.

  • baem

    good job finishing 15% reverse engineering of the RQ-170.
    continue and make 100% of it, i wish if they can be a bomber UAV

  • Greg

    Good point, Bill. People like Kraut won’t know any of that, because American mainstream media like Fox “news” didn’t tell them.

  • unnamed

    in a video they said “due to the complicated flight dynamics a 15 % 40 % and scaled models were built firstt. they want to to find out the flight equations for the flight control computer.”
    he says we will use it for bombing missions since it is too big for reconnaissance ,

  • mohsen

    I guess this year, Iranian stories will be on top of your posts too.

  • pp_muscimol

    You guys forget one thing … the dictators normally have this pattern, even more the Arabs ones. Show that you have something even if it is only paper and glue. They shit themselves
    in the pants just thinking that they may be attacked and erased anytime soon. They
    have no real friends …. remember Sadam … he liked to give the impression
    that he had weapon systems just to make the enemy (dumb ones) to think he was powerful.
    The Ayatollahs do the same. So it is obvious that they have to show
    something …. otherwise how the Iranian trolls would think that they country
    is actually is a powerhouse?!!

    but don’t be fooled…. they are stalling in order to make the bomb … it’s so obvious from the nuclear discussions with the group G5 +1

    • Irani Britaniyayi

      “the dictators normally have this pattern, even more the Arabs ones.” Thanks for demonstrating how uninformed Iran-hating commenters here, are. American media probably did not tell you but, Iran is not an Arab country!

  • Greg

    Why do Iran’s armaments get Iran-hating people so worked up? Why go to so much effort if it’s just a model?

  • Greg

    Your evidence is?

    • P.Act

      My evidence is almost 30 years living with all of these Mullahs and IRGC members and I know they’re sort of guys who all the time claim unreal things. What’s your evidence to support and prove IRGC’s claims? Just IRGC’s Commanders’ Talks and Claims? Nothing else? Then how do you believe them?

  • Greg

    Your evidence is

    • P.Act

      I work for the Aerospace Agency in Iran and I know what we have and don’t have. Any other question?

  • Francis Miller


  • big john ok

    Chinese have built stealth drones, the even have 2 different models of stealth fighters. this site has even posted articles about them.

    The Russians also are developing a stealth fighter.

    • P.Act

      Those Chinese plane or drone are still experimental plane and maybe they seem to be stealth but in reality they’re not as Chinese don’t have enough knowledge and science stolen from American Companies. So is Russia… They Just say that these are stealth but who knows if they really are??? Whenever they could prove their planes are close to F35 in performance and stealthiness _ as we have to forget about Chinese or Russian planes close to F22 _ then we can accept Chinese and Russian can help Mullah’s Regime in copying RQ170.

  • Greg

    No assumption is needed when it comes to American mainstream media like Fox “news”. It’s an international joke.

    It also doesn’t help that America and other western powers prop up middle eastern dictators that would rather squander their nations’ wealth on foreign armaments that they don’t need, luxury lifestyles, western bank accounts and exporting wahabbi, militant Islam to attack countries like Syria.

  • RKahn

    Is the guy resting his arm on the wing of the Iranian copy? (second pic) That’s so funny.

  • Ufox news

    NO, the drone did not crash land!! It was captured with the use of magnetic force-fields (developed by M.T.Keshe and used in the Iranian space-program – net search “keshefoundation”). The Iranians video-taped the capture and landing. The drone would have self-destructed had any attempt been made to hack into the systems.

  • Ufox news

    Things have changed. Is Iran in possession of the most advanced tech on the planet?? Net-search “” www

  • Martif

    This drone was likely flown directly into iran’s hands by the o regime. The Iranians were also likely given all the specifications necessary to build their own.