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Pentagon says drone captured by Iran appears US-made

Iran said it had captured a US drone that entered Iranian airspace over the Persian Gulf and was extracting data.

scaneagle droneEnlarge
The "low-cost, long-endurance" ScanEagle drone, as pictured on Boeing's website. (www.boeing.com/AFP/Getty Images)

The drone that Iran claimed to have shot down when it entered Iranian airspace over the Persian Gulf appears to be US-made, said the Pentagon on Wednesday.

Pentagon spokesman George Little said the unmanned aerial vehicle appeared to be an American made ScanEagle drone, according to Bloomberg.

Earlier in the day, Iran claimed to have obtained data from the US intelligence drone. Little told reporters it was "highly improbable" that Iran could obtain useful intelligence from the unsophisticated drone. He added that it could not be determined whether the US operated the drone.

According to Reuters, Iranian media reported that after extracting information from the ScanEagle, it found that the US was spying on the country's military sites and oil terminals. The US has been using Boeing Co ScanEagle spy planes since 2004.

Bloomberg noted that the ScanEagle is also used by a number of other countries, and is less advanced than the other unmanned aircrafts used by the Pentagon, like the Global Hawk and Predator.

When Iran first reported that it had captured the drone, the US denied the claim. According to CNN, a US defense official said that regardless of what Iran was claiming, the drone was not an actively operating US drone.

"The US Navy has fully accounted for all unmanned air vehicles (UAV) operating in the Middle East region. Our operations in the Gulf are confined to internationally recognized water and air space," the source said.

However, the incident has brought to light the tensions in the region. Iran and the United States are in a standoff over Iran's disputed nuclear program-- which the US is attempting to subvert by blocking Iran's oil exports by imposing sanctions.

Last November, the United States said Iranian warplanes shot a US surveillance drone in international airspace. They have since announced that they have extracted valuable technology from the drone, and are in the process of reverse-engineering it.
 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/iran/121205/iran-says-it-extracted-data-captured-us-drone