Iran claims lead in drone technology

Dec. 19, 2012 at 10:16 AM

TEHRAN, Dec. 19 (UPI) -- Stealth capabilities from unmanned aerial vehicles manufactured in Iran are more advanced than rival programs, a deputy commander said.

Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami, deputy commander of the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps, said Iranian drones are more sophisticated than some U.S. counterparts. Iran's stealth drone program, he said, is among the best in the world, he told the official Islamic Republic News Agency.

In early December, Iran claimed it captured a Boeing ScanEagle, a low-budget drone used by the U.S. military and other Western powers.

"The technology used in the ScanEagle is very old and our UAVs are much more advanced than them," Salami said.

Iran said it was able to extract the data from the drone. Last year, the country said it was able to reverse-engineer an RQ-170 Sentinel drone operated by the CIA that strayed across the border with Afghanistan. This week, the military announced it began production of its own ScanEagle variant.

"We will use every opportunity to design all kinds of drones," said Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi.

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