The drone that Iran claims to have shot down was a stealth RQ-170 "Sentinel"
The RQ-170 "Sentinel," a stealth unmanned U.S. drone / Wikimedia Commons
The super-secret drone that Iran claims to have recovered was on a CIA "Focal Point" mission, gathering intelligence and likely crashed though it remains uncertain whether it was able to self-destruct, U.S. officials told National Journal on Tuesday.
Controllers lost contact with the prized stealth unmanned aerial drone, the RQ-170 "Sentinel", last week over western Afghanistan, said one government official who spoke on condition of anonymity. Based on its projected glide path, officials assume it fell just inside the Iranian border.
Though the CIA has used the Sentinel to monitor Iranian nuclear convoys before, the precise nature of the mission this time is not known.
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The Sentinel is the top-of-the-line UAV, with highly sensitive cryptographic and stealth technology. If it indeed reaches Iranian hands undamaged it will represent a compromise in the latest of U.S. stealth technology, said officials with knowledge of the program.