22:28 GMT19 January 2021
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    Back in 2011, an Iranian cyberwarfare unit managed to intercept control over a US RQ-170 Sentinel stealth recon UAV and land it in one piece. Tehran has refused to return the drone to the American military citing its violation of Iranian airspace. Instead, Iran has reverse engineered the American drone to create its own strike UAV.

    Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh has revealed that Iran managed to obtain control over "seven to eight drones" flying over Syria and Iraq, as well as access to their "first-hand intel", Fars News Agency reported. The agency published video footage claiming that it had been shot by the US drones that were allegedly hacked by Iran. Iranian military officials haven't confirmed the video's authenticity.

    Among other things, the footage shows the crash-landing and subsequent destruction of a drone by the airstrike. The video was possibly shot in 2016 in Syria, where an MQ-9 Reaper Drone crashed in July 2016. The US Air Force then reported that it crashed due to an operator losing control of the UAV and not due to "enemy fire". The drone was later destroyed by a "coalition aircraft" strike.

    In one of the most famous episodes of "drone hijacking" Iran managed to intercept control over a US RQ-170 Sentinel flying over the Islamic Republic and then safely land almost intact on December 4. A week later then US President Barak Obama asked Tehran to return the drone, but Iran refused to do so and instead used it to reverse engineer its own drone — Sa'egheh. It inherited the RQ-170's stealth design, but was modified from a being purely reconnaissance aircraft to one capable of airstrikes.


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    drones, MQ-9 Reaper drone, Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), Iraq, Syria, US, Iran
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