Iranians say they shot down unmanned U.S. spy plane - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Iranians say they shot down unmanned U.S. spy plane


(ABC NEWS) -- The claim was made on Iranian state television that Iran shot down and captured an unmanned U.S. "spy plane" in the eastern part of the country.

The Iranians say it was an RQ-170, a secret drone that can presumably operate without detection. The Iranians have lied about such things in the past, but If true, it could be a significant capture.

"There are important secrets that can be lost either by looking at the kind of material that is used on the skin of a stealth airplane or by looking at the shape that are employed," said Michael O'Hanlon of the Senior Fellow Brookings Institution.

The U.S. military acknowledges that a recognizance plane crashed, but officials say it was not shot down. A Senior U.S. military official tells ABC News that the military is quote, "assuming Iran has something."

There are provisions built into drones to protect sensitive technology... information can be remotely erased when contact is lost. But if this is the stealth drone, it could help the Iranians better understand the vulnerabilities of the top secret U.S. technology.

"It would have been poor planning for the U.S. to use its very best technology on a platform that it knew might go down," O'Hanlon said.

This is only the latest incident of the military losing sensitive equipment.

Pakistan reportedly let China look at a crashed stealth helicopter used in the raid that killed Osama Bin Laden.

The Iranian government has not released any pictures of the recovered aircraft.

Back in July, Iran claimed it shot down a plane, but later backed away from the claim.

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