A secret U.S. surveillance drone that went missing last week in western Afghanistan appears to have crashed in Iran, in what may be the first case of such an aircraft ending up in the hands of an adversary.
Iran’s news agencies asserted that the nation’s defense forces brought down the drone, which the Iranian reports said was an RQ-170 stealth aircraft. It is designed to penetrate enemy air defenses that could see and possibly shoot down less-sophisticated Predator and Reaper drones.
Somewhat surprisingly, Iran hasn’t released any pics of any recovered drone. So I’m gonna say for now it’s just an allegation that the drone is in fact an RQ-170.
As for whether Iran has the air defense capability to bring down an RQ-170… maybe. But there’s a greater likelihood the US just lost control and it crashed.
Sadly, that seems to be an all to common occurrence for our drone programs. The justification for drones was originally two-fold. They were cheap, and they kept US personnel out of the hands of bad guys. Well, they aren’t cheap anymore. But at least they still keep US aviators out of the hands of Iran. But they sure seem to have a higher failure rate than manned aircraft.