- The Washington Times - Monday, May 12, 2014

Iran’s state-run television reported that the nation has succeeded in constructing a copycat of a U.S. drone that it captured in 2011 and that authorities are soon going to take the craft on a test flight.

The television station broadcast images that were explained as Iran’s newest surveillance craft — a replica of the US RQ-170 Sentinel, Agence France-Presse reported. The pictures of Iran’s claimed constructed craft were displayed alongside pictures of the actual Sentinel the nation said it captured from the United States.

“Our engineers succeeded in breaking the drone’s secrets and copying them,” one officer in the broadcast said, Fox News reported. “It will soon take a test flight.”

Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said the unmanned drone will prove “very important for reconnaissance missions,” AFP reported.

Iran reportedly seized the U.S. drone in December 2011, claiming it entered Iranian airspace from the east, near the border with Afghanistan.

The United States initially said the drone had gone missing near the border, but didn’t confirm Iran had grabbed it. Later, Washington then admitted the drone had been monitoring Iran’s nuclear and military facilities and asked the nation to return it.