Iran has unveiled a copy of the US Lockheed Martin Sentinel RQ-170 drone which the Islamic Republic downed in 2011. The copycat aircraft is due to take test flights soon, officials said at the IRGC’s Aerospace Exhibition.The reverse-engineered drone manufactured by Iran was showcased next to the original US machine that was captured in northeastern Iran near the city of Kashmar about three years ago.The exhibition, attended by the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Khamenei, revealed the Iranian marvel equipped with an advanced system of data collection, video and radar telecom, Fars reports.“Our engineers succeeded in breaking the drone’s secrets and copying them. It will soon take a test flight,”an officer said in the footage broadcast on Iranian TV. “This drone is very important for reconnaissance missions,” Khamenei said as he viewed the drone.The original Sentinel RQ-170 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) was used in US covert operations in Afghanistan from 2005 until 2007, according to the report. One of the important features of the drone is that it is hard to detect with long range radar due to its special stealth coating, making it visible only from a distance of around 40 kilometers.
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