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Knockoff of RQ-170 Unveiled On Mother’s Day
By Harold Hutchison

Iran has claimed to have copied a stealthy UAV used by the United States that fell into their hands three years ago. The Iranians have also claimed to have armed the UAV, potentially gaining a military asset that could threaten American forces.

Patch of the Air Force unit that Operates the RQ-170

According to a report by the Washington Free Beacon, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Command unveiled the armed knockoff of the RQ-170 this past weekend. The Obama Administration had been urged to carry out a mission to either recover or destroy the drone when it went down in Iranian territory in 2011. The next year, it was reported that Iran had been able to retrieve information from the downed UAV.

Some questions have been raised about the veracity of the Iranian claims, which were trumped by Iran’s state-run media. One expert told the United States Naval Institute blog that one tell-tale giveaway was that the Iranian knockoff looked identical to the American drone, saying an a real, flyable UAV would use “whatever extra F-5 parts or general aviation parts they had lying around.”

The RQ-170 is in service with the United States military as part of the 30th Reconnaissance Squadron, based out of Tonopah, Nevada. Roughly 20 of the UAVs, which use a flying-wing design, are in service.