Iran releases first (somehow suspicious) video of its RQ-170 stealth drone copy in flight

Eventually, a video allegedly showing the copy of Lockheed Martin RQ-170 Sentinel UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) drone manufactured by reverse-engineering of U.S. Sentinel drone captured in December 2011 was released.

On Nov. 10, Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Aerospace Force, Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, announced that a domestic version of the RQ-170 drone, modified to carry out both bombing and reconnaissance missions, had made its maiden flight.

“The footage of its flight will be released soon,” he told reporters.

Eventually, a video showing the copy of the Sentinel flying somewhere over Iran, filmed both from the ground and from an accompanying helicopter has been released.

The footage of the flying drone looks genuine; what seems to be a bit weird is the sequence of the RQ-170 landing on the runway: more than a UAV, the aircraft moves and reacts to the remote pilot’s input as a small remotely piloted scale model….

Since the first prototype was a smaller copy of the Sentinel (60% the size of the original RQ-170) which flew about four months ago, one might wonder whether the landing drone depicted in the footage is not the full scale replica but the smaller original prototype.

Furthermore, some frames of the landing video seem to be computer generated.

Judge by yourself at min 06:49.

H/T to Soufiane Nourredine for the heads-up


About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a 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 five books and contributed to many more ones.


  1. If you look at the pictures posted two days ago, you can see the landing gear doors. Here, you can’t.

  2. Gen. Hajizadeh says various models of the drone: Different “sizes” and different “engines” for different “missions”. it’s Quite reasonable and there’s no argument , don’t you agree David ????!!!!
    Even if we consider it a smaller drone (as you insist), then it ill be more stealthy and there will be more problems for detection by enemy radars !!!!!

    • Just because something is smaller doesn’t make it more stealthy. If that were the case, radars wouldn’t be able to pick up flocks of birds…

  3. The video is obviously real, but as they’ve said its a smaller version of the original RQ-170. But
    I have a question: Is the real “stealthy” RQ-170 that noisy?

    • yes….but i assume that is a prime type and iranian eng. can move forward an perform the prime to prototype

  4. Come on David, don’t be jealous !!!! I know you would die to have a close look at this jewel !!!!!!!!

    • I actually thought you were sarcastic, but after seeing your other comments i changed my mind.

      I guess Iranians have a different sense of reality..

      and humor.

      • It’s just a matter of time that it will convince you and other guys that it is real (not fake or humor); like how the intelligence was decoded from the captured RQ 170.

        When the bomber version of Iranian RQ 170 is unveiled I am 100% sure grumblings will be heard why doesn’t it drop a thermo nuclear bomb?!!!

        BTW, we live on the same planet as you (we are not from Mars or Jupiter), but the main difference which causes suspicion (like David), confusion, ridicule etc., is that the defense doctrine of Iranian military is asymmetric (i.e. not the one you expect).

    • Nothing special about this flying wing! Nothing at all! Old tech that has been available for more than 20 years.

      • The basis of this technology has came from world war 2 so it’s more then 20 years old. And as we know Soviets and Americans have gained some of their important military technology from Hitler. It means after the Allies won the war they saw Hitler’s high tech in for example engineering the first jet engines or the first triangular plane (plans without tails) or the first rockets and some say the first flying saucer and other high tech engineering’s (I’ll put the pics below).
        So see my friend this can be true that at the first Germans build all these stuff but after America and the Soviets captured them they reverse engineered them all and even mad them better then what it was. So even if the technology of this plane is coming from 20 years ago it’s no problem for Iran.
        And for what you said down there to me about overthrowing Iran’s government I don’t like to answer it ,cause it’s over 35 years that all the western countries are saying this but nothing has happened so far. And it’s just a matter of time and when the time comes we will see whose government will be overthrown.
        good luck.

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