US rejects Iran claims of bringing down drone

US officials said the investigation has identified potential explanations for the crash, but is still trying to determine the exact cause.

Last Updated: Dec 16, 2011, 13:11 PM IST

Washington: US officials have rejected Iran’s claims of responsibility for bringing down a CIA-operated stealth drone.

The CIA and other agencies investigating the matter said that it is clear the drone went down as a result of technical failure, and is said to have sustained damage.

US officials said the investigation has identified potential explanations for the crash, but is still trying to determine the exact cause.

In the latest claim, an unidentified Iranian engineer told the Christian Science Monitor that Iran exploited vulnerability in the drone’s navigation system to bring it to a safe landing.

Iranian officials had previously said that they had brought down the drone with a cyber attack, The CSM reports.

The engineer, who is working to unlock the secrets of the captured RQ-170 Sentinel, has said they exploited a known vulnerability and tricked the US drone into landing in Iran.

This photo released on Dec. 8 by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, claims to show US RQ-170 Sentinel drone which Tehran says its forces downed last week.

Iran guided the CIA’s “lost” stealth drone to an intact landing inside hostile territory by exploiting a navigational weakness long-known to the US military, according to an Iranian engineer now working on the captured drone``s systems inside Iran.

Iranian electronic warfare specialists were able to cut off communications links of the American bat-wing RQ-170 Sentinel, says the engineer.

Using knowledge gleaned from previous downed American drones and a technique proudly claimed by Iranian commanders in September, the Iranian specialists then reconfigured the drone``s GPS coordinates to make it land in Iran at what the drone thought was its actual home base in Afghanistan.

(ANI)