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Iran plans to build 4 versions of seized US drone

Updated: 2014-11-14 08:08
By Agencies in Teheran (China Daily)

Iran will manufacture four versions of the US RQ-170 drone, which was downed inside the country's airspace in December 2011, a top military commander said on Wednesday.

The four duplicated versions of the RQ-170 will be produced by the end of the current Iranian calendar year, which ends on March 20, 2015, Commander of the Aerospace Division of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps Brigadier General Amir-Ali Hajizadeh said.

Unlike the original US version, which is a spy drone, the first Iranian models will be combat drones, Hajizadeh said.

It was announced on Monday that Iran has an operational version of the RQ-170 drone.

The Pentagon said on Wednesday that Iran's copy of a US drone is inferior to the original, as it played down claims from Teheran this week that the replica had taken its first flight on Monday.

Asked about the Iranian replica, Pentagon spokesman Colonel Steve Warren quipped: "Replica being the operative word there."

Earlier this year, Iran aired "decoded video recordings", which it said were obtained from a US RQ-170 stealth drone. The recordings had been made by the drone's underbelly camera and included views from the area surrounding the Kandahar base in Afghanistan as the drone was about to land.

In December 2011, Iranian media reported that the country's military downed the US RQ-170 in the eastern part of Iran after finding it transgressing the eastern border. Iranian state TV later showed footage of the drone.

Xinhua - Reuters - AP


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