"They work," said Jeremy Binnie, Middle Eastern and North African editor at Jane's Defense Weekly, of Iran's air defense. The event "emphasizes that when the Iranians really make investments, it can really count," he told CNN.
"We knew it with ballistic missiles, but it also works with aviation protection."
RQ-4A is not a clay pigeon. For $ 110 million, why the Global Hawk needs three people to remotely control it and its sensors. Wider in wing than a Boeing 737, it has a Rolls Royce engine that moves it at about 500 miles per hour, as it accommodates signals and images normally at 65,000 feet to stay out of the way of surface-to-surface air missiles. Even if they come too close, it has a radar warning receiver, a jamming system and emits a decoy, towed behind it.
While the US military is in no way threatened in the long run by Iran, occurring as the death of drone shows that Tehran can sometimes have an outsized effect with narrowly focused efforts, and is an opponent who can surely keep his opponents in balance. The United States would win any conventional short-term conflict, but should be careful that Iranian ingenuity (or deviousness, if you are in Washington) will stop any conflict from being a "cakewalk".
Despite the dispute about exactly where it happened, there is no doubt that the Iranian revolutionary watchdog managed to destroy one at 4:05 on June 1
IRGC said it used a "3rd of Khordad" surface-to-air missile system, of which images have now been circulated on social media as a symbol of Iranian ability Against the incomparable unmanned technology, Americans release the stratosphere every day.
The Khordad 3 was presented for the first time in 2014, has a range of up to 75 kilometers and can hit as far as 30 kilometers, Iranian state media has said. Jane's conclusion that the strike was likely from a mobile vehicle, given the US battle, missile launched from 70 kilometers away, and there is no Iranian facility that matches that location. In short: Tehran took out an American spy drone from the back of a fancy truck.
While the United States has improved its drone fleet massively since the Global Hawk first came to the fleet 13 years ago, with MQ-4C Triton on To join the service, Iran also has more advanced missiles than the one who took down the drone last week.
Ten days before the incident, Iran unveiled an upgrade that has almost double the interval and is also homemade – the product of a series of reverse engineering and technology has over the years been taken by the sanction band.
Binnie said the Iranians either bought or developed radar technology that had helped them improve their targeting distances. "We don't really understand how these control systems work," he said.
Binnie added that the missile's angle of attack seemed to suggest that it had approached the drone from the west, instead of chasing it from behind, suggesting that it may have been relatively efficiently directed towards the drone of the starter.
This is not the first time Iran has hit on US technology. It took down an RQ-170 stealth drone in 2011 and reportedly reversed it to create custom variants from the wreck.
There didn't seem to be much left on the RQ-4A to pore over, but the interception at 22,000 feet lied to a nation, with President Trump's words, "through hell".
It was just a very expensive pilotless drone, but its downing almost took the United States to war in the region once again and revealed just how important these flashes of the unexpected are.