Iran has for the first time released images of the production line of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) which is manufacturing copies of the US ScanEagle drone.
The domestically-manufactured drones have been put into service by the Iranian Armed Forces.
On December 17, 2012, Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Navy Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi said Iran launched the production line of ScanEagle drones, adding the IRGC Naval and Aerospace Division has been employing the UAVs.
Fadavi announced on December 4 that a US ScanEagle drone had been captured by Iranian forces over the Persian Gulf upon the aircraft’s intrusion into the Iranian airspace.
Iran has already released footage of the captured drone, which has a 10ft (3m) wingspan and is a long-endurance aircraft built by Insitu, a subsidiary of Boeing.
Iranian experts have successfully decoded data extracted from the unmanned aircraft.
The US is using its fleet of drones in the Persian Gulf for spying operations.
The images were publicized after Iran released decoded video recordings obtained from a US RQ-170 Sentinel stealth drone downed and captured by the Islamic Republic in December 2011.
The recordings have been made by the drone’s underbelly camera, and include views from the area surrounding the Kandahar base, about 420 kilometers from Iran’s eastern borders in Afghanistan, as the drone is about to land.
The US RQ-170 Sentinel stealth aircraft was downed with minimal damage by the Iranian Army's electronic warfare unit on December 4, 2011, while flying over the Iranian city of Kashmar, some 140 miles (225 km) from the Afghan border.