London: Iran has released video footage and still images that it claimed were extracted from a US surveillance drone it captured two years ago, which is evidence of the Islamic republic’s capability to decode the secret data obtained by the spy aircraft.
State-run television broadcast a programme on Wednesday night about advances made by Iran in drone technology that featured a poor-quality video that the narrator said was recorded by an RQ-170 Sentinel drone.
In December 2011, members of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards put on show a US unmanned aerial vehicle they claimed to have brought down electronically.
According to the Guardian, US officials later confirmed the aircraft was captured in Iran, but insisted it malfunctioned and was not brought down.
At that time President Barack Obama had appealed to return of the spy drone, but a Guards commander refused, saying the aircraft`s flight over Iran amounted to a hostile act against the Islamic republic and a violation of its airspace.
Iran then promised to investigate the drone`s technology and produce it domestically.
According to the report, the state-run English-language Press TV said on Thursday the footage shown was made by a camera positioned on the drone`s underbelly, which also filmed a US military base in Kandahar, Afghanistan.
The programme’s broadcast coincided with the anniversary celebrations of the 1979 Islamic revolution, a period of two weeks when Iran often puts on display its latest scientific, military and technological progresses, the report said.
Since Iran seized the RQ-170, the country has claimed advances in its drone industry and has exhibited a number of US and Israeli drones allegedly brought down from its airspace, the report said.
Mohammad Eslami, a deputy defence minister, said in the programme that Iran was producing ‘more than 20 types of drones’.
He added that Tehran intended to export its unmanned aircraft, including Hezbollah militant group in Lebanon, it added.