Thursday Dec 08, 201110:59 PM GMT
Iran cmdr. details downing of US drone
Thu Dec 8, 2011 11:1PM
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Commander of the Aerospace Division of Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), Brigadier General Amir-Ali Hajizadeh (file photo)
A high-ranking Iranian commander provides the details of how the Islamic Republic of Iran's military forces brought down a US spy drone, which had illegally entered the country's airspace.

“After the aircraft's entry into the country's eastern [air]space, it fell in the electronic ambush of the Iranian Armed Forces and was brought to the ground with minimum damage [caused to it],” Mehr News Agency quoted Commander of the Aerospace Division of Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), Brigadier General Amir-Ali Hajizadeh as saying on Thursday.

On Sunday December 4, the Iranian Army's electronic warfare unit downed the US RQ-170 Sentinel stealth aircraft, which was flying over the northeastern Iranian city of Kashmar, some 140 miles (225km) away from the Afghan border. The aerial vehicle has been designed and developed by the American company, Lockheed Martin.

“The recently-collected intelligence and precision electronic surveillance have made it clear that the drone aimed to infiltrate our country's airspace and conduct espionage [activities],” he added.

Hajizadeh went on to say that satellites and ground stations in Afghanistan and the US had been used to guide the unmanned aircraft, which incorporates the most sophisticated surveillance-evasion technology.

Meanwhile, Iran has announced that it intended to carry out reverse engineering on the stealth aircraft, which is also known as the Beast of Kandahar and is similar in design to a US Air Force B-2 stealth bomber.

On Tuesday, two US officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed that the drone had been part of a CIA reconnaissance mission, involving the United State intelligence community stationed in Afghanistan.

They claimed the reconnaissance capability of the drone enabled it to gather information from inside Iran by flying along Afghanistan's border with the Islamic Republic.

Iran's Foreign Ministry has summoned the Swiss ambassador to Tehran to protest the recent airspace violation.

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