Commander: Iranian RQ-170 to Have Maiden Flight Soon
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) is preparing the local version of US drone RQ-170 to make its maiden flight in the near future, said an IRGC commander.
“The RQ-170 is not a regular unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) and by getting access to it Iran suddenly got hold of a huge amount of US confidential documents,” Commander of the IRGC Aerospace Organization Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh told the Arab language news TV Al-Alam.
"One of our projects was manufacturing, through reverse engineering, of the aircraft... and has had good progress. We are willing to fly it when it is possible and provide further information. The time for RQ-170’s test flight is quite close, but the IRGC is acting a bit cautiously in the case," elaborated Hajizadeh.
In response to a question on possibility of delivering the captured US RQ-170 to the Americans as a sign of Iran’s good will, the brigadier general strongly ruled out the matter, saying, “The United States has more than half a century of hostility towards Iran and must prove the end of its enmity in action, not in words.”
On 4 December 2011, an American Lockheed Martin RQ-170 Sentinel unmanned aerial vehicle was captured by Iranian forces near the city of Kashmar in northeastern Iran. The drone was brought down by the Iranian Army's electronic warfare unit which commandeered the aircraft and safely landed it.
Earlier Iran announced it had completed decoding the surveillance data and software extracted from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) drone.
After capturing the aircraft, Iran announced that it intends to carry out reverse engineering on the captured RQ-170 Sentinel stealth aircraft, which is similar in design to a US Air Force B-2 stealth bomber.