- Ohio university quiz implies atheists are naturally smarter than Christians
- Rep. Henry Cuellar on border crisis: ‘Playing defense on the one-yard line’
- Activists vow to occupy fast-food restaurants to get higher pay
- Rep. Luis Gutierrez: Senate Dems wary of immigration politics
- Summer camp for 1 percenters: Sushi, limos and shopping at FAO Schwarz
- Colorado gun crackdown law found to be built on faulty data
- Hank Aaron steps to fundraising plate for Democrat Michelle Nunn
- ISIL terrorists blow up burial site of Jonah, vow more of same
- Impeach Obama, say 35 percent in new poll
- Taliban yank 14 Shiites off bus, bind and shoot them on Afghan road
U.S. drone a tech challenge for Iran
Islamic republic could unlock secrets by asking Russia, China
Question of the Day
Iran likely would turn to Russia or China for help in reverse engineering a U.S. drone that landed in its territory last year because the Islamic republic lacks the manufacturing capability to replicate the technology.
Last year, China unveiled its first stealth jet fighter, which experts say is modeled after a U.S. F-117 that crashed in Serbia more than 10 years ago.
“The joke I’ve made is that the airline flights from Moscow and Beijing to Tehran were probably full the next week after.”
The consequences of U.S. drone technology falling into Iranian, Russian or Chinese hands are not disastrous but definitely aren’t good, said Joe Cirincione, an arms control expert.
“China and Russia aren’t adversaries, but they’re not exactly friends. You never like to give your competitor any advantage, and them having your most secret technologies is a problem,” said Mr. Cirincione, who is a member of a scientific board advising Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
A Pentagon spokesman declined to comment, and instead referred to White House press secretary Jay Carney’s Dec. 13 statement that Iran’s claims that it had a role in bringing the drone down are “an attempt to distract attention from a lot of internal strife, an economy that has ground to a halt, and a level of isolation that they have never experienced.”
For example, he said, if Iran knows the U.S. has ground-piercing radar, it would try to configure its facilities so that they are outside the range of U.S. surveillance.
“Knowing what the enemy can see helps you better conceal your activities,” he said.
Engineers who have worked with the U.S. military can only publicly speculate as to what sensitive technologies were on the RQ-170 surveillance drone.
Everything about that unmanned aircraft is classified except that it exists, said retired Lt. Gen. Dave Deptula, the Air Force’s first deputy chief of staff for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.
Sensitive features could include the drone’s shape, coating, software and sensors.
For example, tail pieces and inlets are usually placed in such a way to minimize detection by radar, said Brian Argrow, director of the Research and Engineering Center for Unmanned Vehicles at the University of Colorado.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Kristina Wong is a national security reporter for The Washington Times, covering defense, foreign policy and intelligence affairs. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Despite Pentagon cuts and eye on Pacific, Air Force implored to save the 'Warthog'
- Pentagon welcomes budget deal but says more defense spending needed
- Rep. Hunter to Pentagon: Don't lower combat standards for women
- Scientists raise alarm over plan to destroy Syria's chemical weapons at sea
- Hagel renews Qatar defense pact despite differences over Iran, Syria
TWT Video Picks
Second- and third-stringers eye 2016 if front-runner stumbles
- Michelle Obama says money in politics is bad, asks donors for 'big, fat check'
- Presidents of Honduras, Guatemala blame U.S. for border children crisis
- 'We're coming for you, Barack Obama': Top U.S. official discloses threat from ISIL terrorists
- EDITORIAL: Detroit's water 'spigot bigots'
- NAPOLITANO: What if our democracy is a fraud?
- Hamas rejects Kerry's call for cease-fire; Fears grow others could join fight against Israel
- Crime-ridden U.S. cities differ on ways to fight gun violence
- Obama takes aim at 'corporate deserters'
- Let it roll: D.C. Council hits Las Vegas on taxpayer's dime, leaves $14,000 tab
- Obama orders Pentagon advisers to Ukraine
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq