9 December 2011
High-Rez Photos Fuel Debate Over Captured Stealth Drone
By David Axe

Wired

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2011/12/high-rez-pics-stealth-drone/


Some observers say it's real. Others insist it's a mock-up. In any event, photos have surfaced allegedly depicting the secretive RQ-170 Sentinel spy drone that went down in eastern Iran last week, apparently while spying on Tehran's nuke sites for the CIA.

The pics come on the same day as videos purporting to show the downed Sentinel. Aviation reporter David Cenciotti first spotted the high-resolution photos on Iranian Web forums.

The circumstances surrounding the RQ-170's crash are still unclear, and considering Iran's history of elaborate fakery, it's wise to view these photos skeptically. Apparent damage to the airframe, visible in several photos, could be evidence of its (surprisingly soft) crash-landing, or convincing details added by Iranian agents eager to prove a big win against the U.S. As Bill Sweetman notes, the wings appear to have been removed, and stuck back on: "The question is did that happen in the accident or whether they took them off to move the aircraft."

In private, U.S. officials and aviation insiders are just as divided about the drone display: some swear its authentic; others are sure it's bunk. Officially, all Pentagon spokesman Capt. John Kirby would say was that "we've seen the imagery. There are folks that are looking at it." They sure are.


 


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