I'd like to throw some of my .02 cents in on this subject...first:
It is of my professional and experienced position that Iran did NOT shoot, nor Hijack this UAV down. I say professional and experienced because I have
actually worked on, installed and implemented some of the technology used in these aircrafts.
First, Tactical Common Data Link
, better known as TCDL is almost certainly the link the
Military is using to communicate to these drones. I personally installed a prototype of this technology on HH-60H Seahawks during a western pacific
deployment. I have seen how they operate, how secure they are, and how extremely complex they are. TCDL would be EXTREEMLY
difficult to exploit
by an agressor. Furthermore, even if they could hijack the encrypted signal - they would not possess the require Flight software to interface with the
Secondly, as many have pointed out - if they had shot down the drone, there would be alot more damage than what we see there. This particular drone,
the RQ-170 Sentinel is pretty small. Given it's small wingspan, onboard electronics and surviellance equipment, I can logically infer that the
airframe is most likely made out of light weight composites, which would literally disintegrate if the structural integrity of the aircraft was
ruptured by being shot at. What we see in the Iran video is an almost (expect for the bottom we can't see) intact airframe.
So that rules out the two senarios they have claimed thus far (that they "hacked the drone" and that they "shot it down"). Upon further analysis,
you can see that the drones color is all wrong. If indeed it's mission was one of stealth (which is debatable right now) then you would definately
NOT see rounded edges on the airframe. The entire point of stealth technology is absorption and deflection - hence dark paint and hard edges. Neither
of which are present on this particular drone.
Furthermore, proof has been presented in other threads about this subject that the USAF and CIA have indeed shot down other drones (notably one case
about the MQ-9 Reaper I believe which costs about 5 times as much as the Sentinel at about 50 million per) that they lost control of before it fell
into enemy airspace.
This leads me to one of two conclusions:
1.) The CIA intentionally landed the Drone in Iran to see what they would do with it, and/or other reasons we do not know.
2.) The drone had some internal malfunction and crashed. Iran found the crash site, probably were able to identify it as a drone - and then built a
mock up for propaganda reasons.
What I can tell you with almost certainty
is that Iran did not shoot down this drone, nor did they hijack it with Electronic Countermeasures. I
have 13 years in Naval Aviation and Electronics, working with aircrafts and with prototype avionics. I think I'm fairly qualified to make an informed