Cheney criticized Obama for merely asking Iran to return the drone, telling Erin Burnett of CNN last night that he should have ordered a air strike to destroy the U.S. spy plane; the vice president for George W. Bush also suggested he has sources who say Obama rejected a recommendation for such a strike.
Iran will reverse-engineer the U.S. 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.
Iran says it captured the sophisticated U.S. drone, a bat-winged stealthy RQ-170 Sentinel, on December 4 as it was flying in its airspace.
The “RQ” designation indicates that the RQ-170 Sentinel does not carry weapons.
The RQ-170 has a flying wing design containing a single (as yet classified) engine and is estimated by Aviation Week as being approximately 66 feet in wingspan.
It has a curved wing planform, and the exhaust is not shielded by the wing. Aviation Week postulates that these elements suggest the designers have avoided ‘highly sensitive technologies’ due to the near certainty of eventual operational loss inherent with a single engine design and a desire to avoid the risk of compromising leading edge technology.
On the basis of the few publicly-available photographs of the RQ-170, aviation expert Bill Sweetman has assessed that the UAV is equipped with an electro-optical/infrared sensor and possibly an Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar mounted in its belly fairing. He has also speculated that the two undercarriage fairings over the UAV’s wings may house datalinks and that the belly fairing could be designed for modular payloads, allowing the UAV to be used for strike missions and/or electronic warfare.
The New York Times has reported that the RQ-170 is “almost certainly” equipped with communications intercept equipment as well as highly sensitive sensors capable of detecting very small amounts of radioactive isotopes and chemicals which may indicate the existence of nuclear weapons facilities.
So they captured the nuke sniffing drone.
It probably can plot a radiation map like those for the Fukajima Nuke plant in Japan.
It is an embarrassment, but the intent is to find out if Iran is building nukes.
Let the drone sniff the area.
Then let Israel go in for a precision strike.