US admits Iran has droneRemember when I said that the story about the US drone wandering off from Afghanistan didn't sound good? Well, it wasn't good.
According to a senior U.S. military source with intimate knowledge of the Sentinel drone, the aircraft likely "wandered" into Iranian air space after losing contact with its handlers and is presumed to be intact since it is programmed to fly level and find a place to land, rather than crashing.Let's go to the videotape.
"This is a big prize in terms of technology," a senior U.S. military source told Fox News.
The spy plane uses the same stealth technology as the drone used to monitor the compound during the raid that killed Usama bin Laden, U.S. military sources told Fox News on Monday.
Military sources confirmed that the Iranians have the RQ-170 drone, which is so advanced that the U.S. Air Force has not distributed even a photo of it. However, they did not say that the Iranians shot down the spy plane, as was reported by Iran's official IRNA news agency.
IRNA quoted an unidentified Iranian military official saying Sunday that the spy plane was shot down by Iran's armed forces and suffered minor damage.. The official also warned of strong and crushing response to any violations of the country's airspace by American drone aircraft.
The RQ-170 Sentinel is made by Lockheed Martin and is equipped with stealth technology. The $6 million stealth aircraft manufactured by Lockheed Martin has an RQ in its name to indicate it is unarmed.
Neither the Air Force nor manufacturer Lockheed Martin has released much information about the plane, dubbed "The Beast of Kandahar" in 2007 when its existence was finally confirmed.
"The RQ-170 Sentinel, a low observable UAV, was built by Lockheed Martin's Advanced Development Programs," Major Cristin L. Marposon, a public affairs officer for the USAF at the Pentagon, finally told FoxNews.com in 2009.
Sources said that the plane was designed for surveillance, not for attack.
Little is known about the plane beyond its intended goals, however, with no official images released or details about its composition. Leaked photographs purportedly of the craft depict a sleek, biwing design, intended to present a stealthier, harder to hit profile that other drones or other aircraft.
"The USAF has not issued any public release photos of the RQ-170," Melissa Dalton of Lockheed Martin told FoxNews.com
Early reports suggested that plane -- which supposedly has a wingspan of about 65 feet and can fly at around 50,000 feet -- would be made almost entirely without metal to help it dodge radar, and special paint provides additional stealth.
What could go wrong?