Iran to reverse-engineer captured US drone

Iran says it is in the "final stages" of unlocking the captured American stealth aircraft`s software secrets.

Last Updated: Dec 13, 2011, 00:30 AM IST

Tehran: Iran will reverse-engineer the US
drone it has in its possession, and is in the "final stages"
of unlocking the aircraft`s software secrets, the head of
Iran`s parliamentary national security committee said on Monday.

"Our next action will be to reverse-engineer the
aircraft," Parviz Sorouri said, according to the website of
Iranian state television.

"In the near future, we will be able to mass produce
it.... Iranian engineers will soon build an aircraft superior
to the American (drone) using reverse engineering," he was
quoted as saying.

Iran says it captured the sophisticated US drone, a
bat-winged stealthy RQ-170 Sentinel, on December 4 as it was
flying in its airspace. It claimed a Revolutionary Guards
cyber-warfare unit hacked the aircraft`s flight controls.

US officials, who reportedly said the drone was flying a
CIA mission over Iran, have expressed scepticism that Iran has
the technology to perform such a feat. They said it was more
likely the drone suffered a malfunction.

They have also cast doubts over Iran`s ability to
replicate the drone -- at least without the help of Russia or
China.

But Sorouri said "we are in the final stages of cracking
(the drone`s) code."

He predicted that "we will acquire valuable intelligence
through deciphering the Americans` covert intelligence and
espionage methods once the code is cracked," though he added
that he could not say when the unlocking of the software would
be complete.

Sorouri also said "we will not need Russian or Chinese
cooperation" to copy the drone.

"They will definitely not be involved. This great
defensive capability is reserved for us, and we are not ready
to share it with others," he said.

"We will use this capability as a deterrence. And I doubt
the Islamic republic would share this technology with other
countries."

PTI