Tag Archives: Iran

Iran claims it has decoded the U.S. stealthy RQ-170 Drone Intel but provides unsubstantiated evidence to prove it.

Iran has decoded the U.S. stealthy drone intel?
What? oh, umm…yeah…sure

According to a FARS News Agency article published on Apr. 22, Iran has just finished deconding the intelligence gathering sensors and the internal hard disks of the U.S. stealthy RQ-170 Sentinel drone that was captured by Iran in December 2011.

Speaking to FNA, Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Aerospace Forces Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh revealed some data taken from the aircraft’s intelligence system to deny claims by the Pentagon according to which the Iranians would not succeed in decoding the spy drone’s memory and intelligence devices.

To provide four cues to let the US know how deep Iranian engineers could penetrate into the secrets of the drone Hajizadeh stated that

The drone parts had been transferred to California for technical works in October 2010, adding that the drone was later transferred to Kandahar, Afghanistan in November 2010 and had a flight in there.

The commander said that the drone had experienced some technical flaws in its Kandahar flight in November, but the US experts failed resolve the problems at the time.

Hajizadeh added that the RQ-170 was then sent back to an airfield near Los Angeles in December 2010 for tests on its censors and parts, adding that the drone had a number of test flights in there.

As a forth cue to prove Iran’s access to the drone’s hidden memory, the commander mentioned that the spy drone’s memory device has revealed that it had flown over Al-Qaeda Leader Osama bin Laden’s hideout in Pakistan two weeks before his death.

According to Haiizadeh,  “Had we not accessed the plane’s soft wares and hard discs, we wouldn’t have been able to achieve these facts”.

Although it is possible that the RQ-170’s internal memories were not successfully wiped out following the loss of satellite link with the drone giving the Iranians the chance to decypher some of the data collected by the drone the four “cues” provided by the Iranian General are not solid.

The same information could be retrieved, if not on the Internet (the fact that the “Beast of Kandahar” has tanken part to the Operation Neptune’s Spear to kill Osama Bin Laden was very well known since May 2011) with a little of OSINT (Open Source INTelligence) and some spying.

Aviation magazines have published pictures of the RQ-170 at Kandahar showing some modifications (obviously applied in the US) and by simply observing the drone at Kandahar before and after the new equipment was installed could be a sign of stateside work.

Hence, unless something more solid emerges, I think it’s quite unlikely that the internal memory contained useful information:  they were (probably) automatically erased as a consequence of the loss of control procedure and data will never been recovered. However, the circuitry, lenses, memories and sensors are still there and can be evaluated, tested and copied. And, maybe, improved, with the help of some interested third parties (Russia and China).

Up-close and personal with Iran's Air Force: rare insight into pilot's traditions, procedures, equipment

An interesting behind the scene video was shot on Apr. 17, when Iran commemorated National Armed Forces Day with a military parade at Tehran.

It shows, Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force (IRIAF) pilots before, during and after the flybys providing some interesting details on their traditions, including kissing the Koran before their mission and kissing three times each time other at the end of the sortie; their flight gear (unit patches and flight helmets), and F-4, F-14 and Su-24 hardware.

Unfortunately, no subtitles are available for this documentary.

Another day, another military parade: Iran celebrates Armed Forces Day

Just a couple of days after North Korea displayed its military hardware in Pyongyang, during which North Korean leader Kim Jong Un delivered his first public televised speech since the failed rocket launch, a new military parade took place in one of world’s most hot places: Iran.

On Apr. 17, Iran commemorated National Armed Forces Day with a ceremony attended by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and several of high-ranking military officials.

According to the Mehr News Agency, thousands goose-stepping soldiers took part to the parade in which some military vehicles and equipment were displayed, including the new generation of the Zolfiqar tank, the Samsam tank, the Borragh personnel carrier, the Naze’at missile launcher, the Misaq 2 missile launcher, the Badr tank transporter, and advanced radar and missile systems.

Several planes attended the “show” as well, including IRIAF F-14s, and Su-24s (performing aerial refueling), even if, to be honest, nothing comparable to the 70 F-15Es launched yesterday by the U.S. Air Force from Seymour Johnson AFB.

If I were to choose between the IRIAF current fighters and the 70 F-15Es of the 4th FW, most probably I’d pick the Strike Eagles.

Image credit: ATTA KENARE/AFP/Getty Images

Addressing the military personnel, Ahmadinejad said:

“Security in the Persian Gulf will be promoted with the participation of regional countries, and the interference of foreigners will bring nothing but insecurity,” he said.

A message to Israel, U.S. and some regional allies, in anticipation of a possible (imminent?) attack on Tehran’s nuclear program.

Image credits: AP Photo/Vahid Salemi and ATTA KENARE/AFP/Getty Images

New close-up image of Iranian Mohajer-3 drone disclosed

Sent to me by a reader of the blog, this image (that as far as I know was originally posted by the Iranian site Mashreghnews.ir) is one the few available on the Internet of what should be a Mohajer-3 drone.

Also known as the “Dorna”, Iran’s Mohajer-3 seems to be quite similar to the Mohajer-2. It is a equipped with a forward facing camera, mounted in the front of the fuselage and is believed to be able to carry TV or FLIR cameras in a new payload bay. It carries also a line-scanner that, according to some Iranian websites, is capable of a 1-meter resolution at an altitude of 5 km.

Image credit: Mashreghnews.ir

Made-in-Iran Syrian drone dubbed “Pahpad” has been widely employed in Syria but the Assad’s regime against the oppositors. For the moment, in spite of the rumors, no images of other types of drones have emerged.

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B-1s and F-22s involved in a long range strike exercise. Getting ready for North Korea or Iran?

U.S. F-22s, along with E-3s, F-16s, KC-135 and B-1s took part on Apr. 4, 2012, to an exercise aimed at validating Bones capability to successfully perform long range strike missions similar to one conducted in Libya in the early stages of Operation Odyssey Dawn.

Dubbed Operation Chimichanga, the exercise saw three B-1 bombers from the 37th Bomb Squadron flying from Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota, to Fort Yukon, Alaska to conduct a combat a 10-hour round trip training mission based off lessons learned from their raid in Libya.

In particular, Operation Chimichanga gave the 37th BS crews the opportunity to test the tactics and procedures for “a more robust and accurate in-flight planning and retargeting of the AGM-158 Joint Air-Surface Stanfoff Missile.”

A B-1 can accommodate up to 24 radar-evading JASSM in its bomb bays. This GPS-guided cruise missiles with 2,250-lbs warhead, can be fired from more than 200 miles, even if it will be replaced, beginning next year, by a JASSM-ER (extended-range) AGM-158B that can reach a target 600 miles away.

Among the objective of the operation was also to validate the F-22 and F-16’s ability to escort the bomber into a so-called anti-access target area: with a stealthy cruise missile that can hit a target from about 1,000 km away, the need of escort fighters might become almost superfluous, especially if the B-1 is called into action when the enemy air defenses have been already degraded (as happened in Libya).

Noteworthy, flying for the first time with the most recent “Block 3.1” hardware and softare upgrade, that provides the ability to find and engage ground targets, the Raptors took part to the exercise in a dual role: HVAAE (High Value Air Asset Escort) and air-to-surface, providing the capability to perform an immediate restrike on the same target (or one nearby), if needed.

Image credit: U.S. Air force photo/Staff Sgt. Brian Ferguson