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Iran's Military Claims To Have Downed US Surveillance Drone 522

Posted by timothy
from the is-turnabout-fair-play? dept.
mrquagmire submits a link to the Jerusalem Post's report that an American reconnaissance UAV has been captured by the Iranian military. "'Iran's military has downed an intruding RQ-170 American drone in eastern Iran,' Iran's Arabic-language Al Alam state television network quoted the unnamed source as saying. 'The spy drone, which has been downed with little damage, was seized by the Iranian armed forces.' ... 'The Iranian military's response to the American spy drone's violation of our airspace will not be limited to Iran's borders any more,' Iran's Arabic language Al Alam television quoted the military source as saying, without giving details."
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Iran's Military Claims To Have Downed US Surveillance Drone

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 04, 2011 @12:52PM (#38257654)

    The point is that sending aircraft into someone else' airspace without permission is an aggressive act forbidden by international law and treaties that the US is a party to.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 04, 2011 @12:55PM (#38257686)

    may well be, but it still comes down to violating another country's airspace.
    Iran will try to make this look like an act of agression by the US. and frankly, they would be right.

  • by silanea (1241518) on Sunday December 04, 2011 @01:14PM (#38257844)
    Sure. Or maybe the US violated a sovereign state's airspace and had their aircraft shot down. Looking at both countries' track records for provoking armed conflicts through blatant disregard for international law the latter somehow seems the more likely theory.
  • Re:First strike? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Ethanol-fueled (1125189) on Sunday December 04, 2011 @01:27PM (#38257978) Homepage Journal
    Additionally, the technical specs of the radar systems are already known, because Russia probably makes the systems and American intelligence has the instruction manual.

    Knowing the frequencies and techniques of the enemy radar is enough to build an operational flight program for our countermeasures to jam it. I'm pretty sure that it's in our best interests to jam and/or deceive the radars rather than deliberately "light them up" before we strike. I know because I was an avionics troop in the USAF, specializing in electronic warfare (TISS).

    Lastly, though, I want to say that all this rhetoric in favor of war with Iran being shoved up our asses is disgusting. With public approval of government at an all-time low and protests in every major city, it is clear that the government have completely lost touch with reality. We are not buying this bullshit again, from the bullshit "WMD" excuse used to go to war with Iraq to the conspicuously missing pictures of Bin Laden ( the U.S. had no problem with proudly displaying Saddam's sons Uday and Qusay as if they were a science fair exhibit! ).

    This is fucking bullshit. This shit-talking has to stop.
  • Re:First strike? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Sunday December 04, 2011 @03:19PM (#38258886) Homepage Journal

    Yes, your memory has hazed over a little bit. It took weeks before all of Iraq's radar sites were eliminated. That, in spite of the fact that we had already painted them in the runup to the war. Month after month, we flew into Iraqi territory, recording everything we could, including the locations of radar installations. Still, when the war started, mobile radar units had been moved, and some of the stationary units hadn't ever been mapped.

    Military intelligence changes daily, if not hourly. You've got to stay on top of things, or your intel is shit.

  • by moonbender (547943) <moonbenderNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Sunday December 04, 2011 @04:11PM (#38259336)

    So you think unless the US has signed a bilateral treaty with another nation, it's free to violate that nation's sovereignty? And vice versa? That's not how things work.

  • Re:Congratulations (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 04, 2011 @04:17PM (#38259402)

    ... and given that Iran is theocracy ...

    I am driven with a mission from God. God would tell me, 'George go and fight these terrorists in Afghanistan'. And I did. And then God would tell me 'George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq'. And I did. ~ George Bush

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/pressoffice/pressreleases/stories/2005/10_october/06/bush.shtml [bbc.co.uk]
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/blog/2005/oct/06/georgebushgod [guardian.co.uk]

  • Re:First strike? (Score:5, Informative)

    by zippthorne (748122) on Sunday December 04, 2011 @04:26PM (#38259480) Journal

    It was invented to go up against USSR, who eventually were able to down one. Against superpower military spending, the U2 is vulnerable. But it flys really high, so it takes some serious engineering skill just to design a weapon that can even reach it's height, let alone accurately kill one.

    Those resources are not available to lesser militaries, at least not yet, and there will always be nations for whom high altitude overflight is still safe. Loiter time and distance (high altitude is still way, way, way closer than satellite) mean that the U2 is still an extremely cost effective surveillance platoform and is likely to remain so for some time against many targets. Further, unlike satellites, the U2 can be flown at arbitrary times, rather than on a regular and predictable schedule.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 04, 2011 @04:31PM (#38259520)

    Iran "has a history of expandable borders", when?! Please provide some details.

    As far as I know, Iran was attacked by Saddam Hussein and that is their latest war. The modern Iran has not been around for very long, you know, less than a century. Before the former shah's Iran it was a European protectorate of sorts. Around 1980, the mullah's took over ruined most of what was available at that time.

    An "expandable border" theory sounds like century old history to me.

  • by WaffleMonster (969671) on Sunday December 04, 2011 @04:57PM (#38259696)

    It seems like there has been some effort from the US to further increase tensions with Iran - including a string of three catastrophic, improbable but still officially accidental explosions at various Iranian industrial facilities. Add that to Stuxnet and targeted assassinations of Iran's brightest nerds, and it paints a pretty clear picture that we the West are trying to ratchet up tensions. On the other side, there are probably hardliners who are happy to play along. I don't like any of this escalation.

    My guess covert US involvement is at least partially to keep Isreal from feeling soo cornered it sees no alternative other than a unilateral strike against Iran.

    For all practical purposes Isreal == USA. If they do something stupid we pay the price for cleanup / consequences.

  • Re:First strike? (Score:5, Informative)

    by icebike (68054) on Sunday December 04, 2011 @04:58PM (#38259704)

    Allegedly. Given the amount of evidence and the history of the regime (last time they made this claim they backed off it) I'm skeptical. It wouldn't really surprise me either way. Iran was putting their equivalent of a drone into Iraq while US forces were there. Maybe they're just returning the favor.

    Given this is a mid-altitude drone (50K feet) which has significant lack of stealth technology, about which Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] says:

    Aviation Week postulates that these design elements suggest the designers have avoided 'highly sensitive technologies' due to the near certainty of eventual operational loss inherent with a single engine design and a desire to avoid the risk of compromising leading edge technology

    the shoot down is entirely plausible, and could easily be accomplished with what ever operational missiles or even manned fighter aircraft the Iranian's have in operation. An unmasked exhaust makes this drone vulnerable to heat seeker missiles.

    At 6 million per copy, they are relatively cheap, and containing nothing particularly secret, it may even have been used as cover decoy for a much more expensive and more capable vehicle on a concurrent mission.

  • Re:sold to china (Score:4, Informative)

    by shutdown -p now (807394) on Sunday December 04, 2011 @06:50PM (#38260620) Journal

    We had an opportunity to be their friends/ally after the Russians left but we didn't.

    You didn't have such an opportunity. You were not supporting all Afghanis to begin with - you were supporting the anti-secular Islamic faction that was fighting the secular government put in place by the Soviets and its supporters. Simply put, it was a civil war, triggered by Soviet intervention which supported the communist faction, and continued by U.S. and Pakistan which supported Islamists.

    Islamists tolerated you infidels because you were providing them with weapons and training that were crucial in the fight. When they kicked out the Soviets and massacred the local communists together, extremists (Taliban) turned onto more moderate Islamists (what later became Northern Alliance) and pushed them out of most of the country.

    At no time the fight was about "democracy", "freedom", or other such nonsense. It was about whether it'd be a secular dictatorship aligned with Soviets, or an Islamic theocracy not aligned with them. Both would hate your guts. Your politicians just assumed that the latter would be easier to deal with, because it was not, back then, so prominent - not enemy #1.

  • Re:First strike? (Score:5, Informative)

    by chrb (1083577) on Sunday December 04, 2011 @06:54PM (#38260652)

    Pre Iraq, the Muslim world was united, Muslims would never attach Muslims

    I'm not sure if this is sarcasm, but just in case it isn't... Iran-Iraq war [wikipedia.org], Invasion of Kuwait [wikipedia.org], Afghan civil war [wikipedia.org] (plus pt2), ... [wikipedia.org]

  • by chrb (1083577) on Sunday December 04, 2011 @08:46PM (#38261510)

    Yes, forbidden; airspace [wikipedia.org], air sovereignty [wikipedia.org]: "By international law, the notion of a country's sovereign airspace corresponds with the maritime definition of territorial waters as being 12 nautical miles (22.2 km) out from a nation's coastline. Airspace not within any country's territorial limit is considered international, analogous to the "high seas" in maritime law. "

    Just because something happens, does not mean that it is legal. See for example: underage drinking.

  • Re:sold to china (Score:3, Informative)

    by izomiac (815208) on Sunday December 04, 2011 @08:55PM (#38261584) Homepage
    The US does such things because it benefits the US. Having the strongest military and being a keystone of the world economy affords one the ability to do so with near impunity. Historically, the US has never been subservient to a supernational organization, and the US serves itself, not the world.

    IOW, it's difficult to compare the US to other countries. Economically, the GDP of the US sits at $14.5 trillion, compared to China's $5.9, Japan's $5.5, and Germany's $3.3. The whole European Union is comparable, at $16.2. Militarily, the US spends $687 billion, compared to China's $114, and France's $61, to speak nothing of the huge historic benefit accumulating from WWI, WWII, and the Cold War. The European Union lacks a unified military, but for the sake of argument spends $300 billion total per year. So, while the US is a "country", it's much closer to being a hegemony than being "just one of the ~200 countries of the world". Another way to look at it is that North America, Europe, and Asia are comparable, but the US dominates the former, whereas the latter two are divided into varying numbers of big players.

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