Monday, December 12, 2011

Israel woes over Iran's hunt of US drone

The RQ-170 Sentinel stealth aircraft was downed by Iran's armed forces in the east of the country on December 4, 2011.

Source: Press TV

The US officials are gradually coming forth with confessions over Iran's downing of Washington's RQ-170 unmanned reconnaissance drone.

This highly advanced aircraft had been assigned various missions, including operations in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

"Military experts and specialists know very well what invaluable technological information this aircraft carries with it," an Iranian military commander-in-chief said.

Some of the US military analysts say that this aircraft was used to spy on Iran's nuclear sites.

The similarity of the technology used in this aircraft with that of B-2 stealth bombers and F-35 fighters adds to its significance. The special color of this aircraft gives it a unique feature to evade radars. RQ-170 is even capable of lingering in the sky for days. This aircraft can eavesdrop on the wireless and wired radio connections to a wide radius around its flight region. And if necessary, it is also capable of widespread electronic jamming around its flying region. Its radar is very advanced and one of a kind. It's equipped with cameras, lenses and sensors that enable it to take unique pictures.

Perhaps even more important than the very advanced and unique features of the RQ-170 is the manner in which it was ambushed. It's obvious that military analysts will speculate diversely, but none can be sure of their guesses. The most comic claim is that this aircraft had crashed in Afghanistan and Afghan groups have sold it to Iran. New intelligence reveals that the navigation system of this aircraft was hacked and the drone was subsequently grounded. The broadcast footage of the aircraft was so important for some analysts they speculated the rear end of the aircraft might have been damaged after its supposed crash and so only anterior images of the aircraft was shown.

Nonetheless, it is clear that there had been no crashes, and those who had seized control of the drone in Iran had landed it safely.

Washington's silence over the past few days was because the US army commanders knew very well what region the aircraft was flying over, when connections with it were cut off and where it landed.

One Israeli paper wrote that the US had initially intended to destroy the hunted aircraft, but it refrained from such an act for fear that a limited military measure against Iran might escalate into a full-scale war.

The Invasion of Iran's airspace by the US warplanes and helicopters, which were subsequently destroyed in a sandstorm near the eastern desert city of Tabas on April 25, 1979, has taught the Iranians to take the RQ-170 spy drone to a safe place and analyze its sensitive equipment to prevent a possible US attack from destroying the aircraft.

Undoubtedly, many governments and organizations from Russia and China to some regional Arab states will stand in line to buy the plane or, at least, get information on its advanced technology. They may also be ready to sign large military contracts with Tehran to get their hands on it. Iran, however, is wiser than easily losing the bird it has captured.

Of course, capturing this aircraft will not be the end of the world and will not change the military balance of power. Such planes lose importance when compared to US bombers and fighter planes. However, their technological resemblance to other advanced American aircraft is the bitter fact for the American military and government. Some US analysts have even noted that Washington will be first in line to buy the plane back from Iran.

But at what price? Will that price be paid through a compromise on Iran's nuclear case?

Israel and the US have been launching relentless propaganda hype about attacking Iran's nuclear facilities in the past few months. The Western press even reported that the US has contacted the Iranian officials telling them that it cannot prevent Israel's airstrike against Iran beyond March 2012. Some analysts have also noted that after US troops leave Iraq in late December, the country's sky will be unprotected and nobody will be able to prevent Israeli planes from crossing Iraq's airspace to reach Iran.

The propagandists wanted everybody to believe that Israel was ready to attack Iran on its own, but the United States has thus far barred that attack. Iranian political officials and military commanders have answered those claims by declaring the country's readiness to repel attacks.

Israeli and American press have also claimed in the past few weeks that Israel will use radar-evading drones, for which it has spent a few billion dollars, to attack Iran.

Such aircraft can stay aloft for a long time on low fuel in order to reach the target. But will few drones be all it takes to destroy Iran's nuclear capability?

Even if the answer is positive, downing the US RQ-170 spy drone will make Israel think twice. The mere idea that Israeli drones may be also captured will most probably make Israeli military commanders to review their plans.

Israel's drones have already played an important part in the assassination of Palestinian fighters living in 1967 occupied territories.

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