Iran says it won't be returning crashed U.S. drone; demands apology
The United States lost one of its RQ-170 Sentinel drones over Iran recently, and now it wants it back. The Iranians, however, say no way and that they intend to use the information that glean from the drone to file a lawsuit against the U.S.
Leaders of Iran say they will not be returning a U.S. unmanned aerial vehicle that crashed over its territory earlier this month. And they'd like an apology too, please.
Iranian officials said the drone was now the property of Iran, and they would decide what to do with it, the BBC reported.
Iranian officials on Monday said their scientists were in the final stages of recovering data from the aircraft.
Chris Day, an engineering specialist from the firm Magna Parva, has more than 30 years of experience with drones and said it seems very unlikely the drone was shot down, but rather that it had a technological failure. He wasn't buying that it was brought down by a cyber attack.
But there was no question that the Iranians would swiftly get to work in trying to reverse engineer the craft and learn as much from it as possible.
"In terms of the actual shape of the structure and the material from which the structure is made, I think they have every opportunity to reverse engineer all the sensitve materials in the drone itself and get a very clear understanding of the platform's signature," Day said.
On the other hand, the software and hardware on the UAV is vastly harder to reverse engineer and understand. Most of them, Day said, are robustly encrypted.
Though they should be able to get an idea of what the vehicle is designed to do.
"That's going to be a real concern for the U.S.," he said.
All the same, this is a real intelligence coup for the Iranians, Day said.
It also raises the question of whether these drones should have a remote detonation ability built in — essentially the ability to destroy the device if it gets away from its controllers.
Unfortunately, that often becomes the weakest part of the drone.
"The number of failures historically that we've had in the past that relate to that particular piece failing is something that concerns us all," Day said.
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