Almost a year to the day when Iran shocked the world by downing an advanced U.S. drone over its airspace, Iran announced the capture of another U.S. drone.
This drone, a Boeing ScanEagle, was captured “in the last few days” over Iranian territory by the naval unit of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, according to the state news agency Fars.
This drone is just the latest violation of Iranian airspace by U.S. surveillance crafts over the last few months.
According to Reuters:
In November, the United States said Iranian warplanes shot at a U.S. surveillance drone flying in international airspace. Iran said the aircraft had entered its airspace, and said it would respond “decisively” to any foreign encroachments into its airspace.
Also last month, Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations, Mohammad Khazaee, wrote to Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon to complain about repeated U.S. violations of Iranian airspace, describing them as ‘illegal and provocative acts’.
Khazaee claimed that U.S. craft had entered southern Iran seven times in October around Bushehr where Iran’s only nuclear power station is situated.
The Boeing ScanEagle is not nearly as sophisticated as the top secret bat-winged RQ-170 Sentinel stealth drone captured last year. It is basically a 10-foot advanced model airplane which is described as a small, low-cost, long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicle.
Here’s a video of how the ScanEagle works:
According to Wikipedia “ScanEagle carries a stabilized electro-optical and/or infrared camera on a light-weight inertial stabilized turret system integrated with communications range over 100 km, and flight endurance of 20+ hours. ScanEagle has a 10-foot (3 m) wingspan and can fly up to 75 knots (139 km/h), with an average cruising speed of 60 knots (111 km/h). Block D aircraft featured a higher resolution camera, a custom-designed Mode C transponder and a new video system.”
UPDATE: The Navy denied that a U.S. drone was captured by Iran, so Iran released a video to prove it. Navy says they must of “plucked it from the sea”, but still says all their drones are accounted for.