Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Gim’me Back My Drone

RQ-170 Drone

War clouds are gather over the Middle East, as the Iranians shoot down an American spy drone. 

With the euro zone crisis threatening global economic meltdown, perhaps on the basis that bad things always come in threes, we’ll hear that an enormous meteorite is on target to smash into Earth in 2012.

Iran appears to be in possession of one of most sophisticated weapons, a super-secret spy plane whose stealth technology is the same as the drone used to monitor the compound during the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, U.S. military sources said Monday.
U.S. Military sources confirmed that the Iranians have the RQ-170 drone, (pictured above) which is so advanced that the U.S. Air Force has not distributed even a photo of it, so I've displayed one for you. 

The U.S. led coalition in Afghanistan issued a statement saying the aircraft was a drone that operators lost contact with last week while it was flying a mission over neighboring western Afghanistan. 

IRNA quoted an unidentified Iranian military official saying Sunday that the spy plane was shot down by Iran's armed forces and suffered minor damage.. The official also warned of strong and crushing response to any violations of the country's airspace by American drone aircraft.
A U.S. official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the classified nature of the incident, said the U.S. had "absolutely no indication" that the drone was shot down.
Alghadir missile base
Iran is locked in a dispute with the U.S. and its allies over Tehran's disputed nuclear program, which the West believes is aimed at developing nuclear weapons. Iran denies the accusations, saying its nuclear program is entirely peaceful and that it seeks to generate electricity and produce isotopes to treat medical patients.

On November 12, an explosion at the Alghadir missile base, 25 miles south-west of Tehran, killed 17 members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, including Brigadier General Hassan Moghaddam, architect of the country’s missile programme. 
Brigadier General Hassan Moghaddam

This came just after the International Atomic Energy Agency reported that Iran had tested the  fitting of a nuclear warhead onto its most advanced ballistic missile, the Shahab-3.

Three Iranian scientists have been assassinated in the past two years, allegedly by Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency. The Alghadir blast may have been another Israeli strike against Iran’s nuclear programme. More sabotage and assassinations are expected  unless the U.S. drops the big one.

For reasons too subtle for me to understand, the Iranians describe the Alghadir blast as an accident. Neither, so far as I know, have they sought to impeach Israel or the West for the killing of their three scientists.

Iran says their nuclear research is for peaceful purposes. At the same time they believe they have the same right to possess a nuclear bomb as the U.S., Russia, Britain, France, Israel, India and Pakistan.

The West’s case against them is that it is a breach of the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty, and based on a remark made by Iran’s President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, to the effect that Israel would be wiped off the map. 
President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

He may have meant Iran was planning to do just that — or that hostility to Israel by the Arab regimes which surround it would lead to the collapse of the Jewish state.

America’s defense establishment chooses to see it as a direct threat from Iran to obliterate Israel. It says: ‘If we let Iran build a nuclear bomb, they’ll use it to wipe Israel off the map, So we must destroy for ever their nuclear facilities.’

The International Atomic Energy Agency says Iran has about five metric tons of uranium, enough to make four bombs, if enriched. Bomb- building is a long, complicated business. But America has enough of them to kill everyone and everything in Iran, as well as to destroy all of its important buildings and infrastructure.
Iran said in January that two pilotless spy planes it had shot down over its airspace were operated by the United States and offered to put them on public display. In July, Iranian military officials showed Russian experts several U.S. drones they said were shot down in recent years.

Also in July, Iranian lawmaker Ali Aghazadeh Dafsari said Iran's Revolutionary Guard shot down an unmanned U.S. spy plane that was trying to gather information on an underground uranium enrichment site.
The RQ-170 Sentinel is made by Lockheed Martin and is equipped with stealth technology. The $6 million stealth aircraft has an RQ in its name to indicate it is unarmed. Neither the Air Force nor manufacturer has released much information about the plane, dubbed "The Beast of Kandahar" in 2007 when its existence was finally confirmed.
"The RQ-170 Sentinel, a low observable UAV, was built by Advanced Development Programs," Major Cristin L. Marposon, a public affairs officer for the USAF at the Pentagon, finally confirmed its exsistance in 2009. 
Sources said that the plane was designed for surveillance, not for attack but the variant can fly armed missions and it is known as the X-47B COMBAT ATTACK DRONE.
Early reports suggested that plane -- which supposedly has a wingspan of about 65 feet and can fly at around 50,000 feet -- would be made almost entirely without metal to help it dodge radar, and special paint provides additional stealth.
Sen. Mark Kirk

Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., said yesterday that "it's less likely than not" that the Iranians did not shoot down the plane, but it had a mechanical or computer malfunction that caused it to go down. The Iranians then used it "for propaganda purposes."
"In the past, they have claimed these shoot-downs and been unable to produce any pieces of the drone, and currently, they have not exhibited any piece of the RQ-170 yet," he said.

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