The future of military micro air vehicle swarms.
Iran claims to have extracted data from the United States UAV that was allegedly captured this week. The “ScanEagle” a Navy based surveillance drone was said to be captured when it flew into Iranian air space. It is the second US drone to be confiscated by the Iranians.
“We have extracted data off the drone… it shows what the Americans were looking for. The drone was gathering intelligence on military (objectives) as well as the energy sector, particularly oil transitions at terminals,” said Iranian Brigadier Geneneral Ramezan Sharif.
He also added that, “more information would be released if necessary.” The US denies that it has recently lost any Drones and that all ScanEagle’s are accounted for. To such Sharif responded, “I advise the American commanders to recount their drones accurately.“
With tensions rising in the Middle East over Iran and it’s pursuit of nuclear weapons, I have no doubt that the US military is performing heavy surveillance of Iranian assets. And while the ScanEagle has sophisticated imaging equipment onboard, it is not clear from available information if it stores the information locally on a hard drive, or transmits all data live as it is obtained.
Iran claims they have captured another US drone, this time a sea launched “ScanEagle”. The US denies that any are missing, so how did they get it?
This morning Iran’s Al-Alam TV station showed video of what they claimed was a captured US drone. If true, this would be the second time a US drone has been captured by the Iranians. The first was an RQ-170 Stealth Drone that most likely crashed in Iran exactly a year ago this month.
The ScanEagle is a Navy launched autonomous surveillance drone. It has been in operation with the Navy since 2005, and as of last year, has totaled more than 500,000 combat flight hours in over 56,000 missions.
In the video released by Iran, you can see what appears to be a ScanEagle placed in front of a map of the Persian Gulf. The words “We shall Trample on the US” can be seen on the top of the map.
The video also shows what appear to be two Iranian soldiers looking over the ScanEagle and then pointing at the map, possibly showing the alleged route that the drone was flying. Iran claims that they captured the Drone as soon as it entered into Iranian Airspace:
“The U.S. drone, which was conducting a reconnaissance flight and gathering data over the Persian Gulf in the past few days, was captured by the Guard’s navy air defense unit as soon as it entered Iranian airspace, such drones usually take off from large warships,” said General Ali Fadavi of Iran’s Republican Guard.
The US denies the claims saying that all ScanEagles are accounted for, none have been lost recently, and that they only operate in international water. Commander Salata of the US Navy’s 5th Fleet said, “The U.S. Navy has fully accounted for all unmanned air vehicles operating in the Middle East region. Our operations in the Gulf are confined to internationally recognized waters and airspace.”
But the ScanEagle may be an older one Cmdr. Salata explains, as over the years some “have been lost into the water”. But all current Scan Eagle drones are accounted for.
So this drone may have been most likely washed up on shore, or maybe even caught in a fisherman’s net. Only time will tell, and we may never no for sure.
At least Iran isn’t claiming that they downed the drone with their “Cyber Commandos” as they claimed last year.