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Iran Wants To Clone Downed US Drone 663

Posted by Soulskill
from the come-fly-the-friendly-skies dept.
PolygamousRanchKid sends this quote from the LA Times: "The Obama administration has sent a formal diplomatic request asking Iran to return the radar-evading drone aircraft that crashed on a CIA spying mission this month, but U.S. officials say they don't expect Iran will comply. 'We have asked for it back,' Obama said Monday at a news conference in Washington with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki. 'We'll see how the Iranians respond.' His comments marked the first public confirmation that the RQ-170 Sentinel drone now in Iranian hands is a U.S. aircraft, though U.S. officials privately acknowledged that in recent days. Iran has claimed it downed the stealthy surveillance drone, but U.S. officials say it malfunctioned. Capture of the futuristic-looking unmanned spy plane has provided Tehran with a propaganda windfall. The government announced that it planned to clone and mass produce the bat-winged craft for use against its enemies." Iran has also demanded an apology from the U.S. for the drone flight in its airspace.
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Iran Wants To Clone Downed US Drone

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  • by InsightIn140Bytes (2522112) on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @01:45PM (#38358262)

    The Obama administration has sent a formal diplomatic request asking Iran to return the radar-evading drone aircraft that crashed on a CIA spying mission this month

    Getting caught and then asking to return their spying device, lol.

    • by Fallingcow (213461) on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @01:46PM (#38358284) Homepage

      Yeah, it's kind of like throwing a baseball through someone's window then asking for the ball back.

      • by elrous0 (869638) * on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @01:49PM (#38358334)

        A better analogy might be a peeping tom throwing a camera through someone's window and then ringing the doorbell to ask for it back.

        You'd be surprised how often that works, BTW.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by BitZtream (692029)

        I never had a problem asking for the ball back.

        I also never had a problem paying for the damages by working it off for them. Its called being accountable for your actions.

        What did you do? Run off and hide while the poor bastards window was replaced at his expense?

    • by YrWrstNtmr (564987) on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @01:50PM (#38358364)
      Getting caught and then asking to return their spying device, lol.

      Like the Russians asking for their MiG-25 back (they got it in boxes after much study), or the US asking China for it's EP-3 orion back (we got it and it is still flying today).
    • by dittbub (2425592) on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @01:51PM (#38358374)
      It also takes balls to ask for an apology for receiving a very nice gift.
    • by sanzibar (2043920) on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @02:05PM (#38358644)
      i keep hoping this is some elaborate super secret spy ruse but the more I watch the incompetence the more I realize its just incompetence.
    • by jpmorgan (517966)

      Well, the US claims it was in Afghanistan. But I'm sure it was in Iran, just like those British sailors the Iranians abducted a couple of years ago.

      I'm not American, but you have to be a complete moron to think the Iranian government is more trustworthy than the US. If it comes down to he-said/she-said, I'm willing to give the Yanks the benefit of the doubt. Iran has a history of "flexible" borders.

      • by Kagura (843695) on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @06:06PM (#38363228)
        Those British sailors that Iran captured were definitely not in Iranian waters. Iran has pulled that stunt several years earlier too, with British sailors again. But this drone was in Iran, performing surveillance on Iranian targets, and then crashed due to a mechanical malfunction of some kind. Iran didn't shoot it down or commandeer it and try to land it, and it didn't accidentally fly over into Iranian territory from Afghanistan.
  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @01:46PM (#38358282)

    But let's face it, it just ain't happening.

  • by Megane (129182) on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @01:51PM (#38358384) Homepage

    Oh, give me a drone where the camels all roam
    Where the Sikhs and the Sunnis all pray
    Where often is heard a discouraging word
    And the skies are dusty all day

    Clone, clone of my drone
    Where the Sikhs and the Sunnis all pray
    Where often is heard a discouraging word
    And the skies are dusty all day

  • by Culture20 (968837) on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @01:52PM (#38358394)
    It doesn't have any DNA!
  • Jesus (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheRealMindChild (743925) on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @01:52PM (#38358396) Homepage Journal
    Iran has also demanded an apology from the U.S. for the drone flight in its airspace.

    As they should. If I found some stealthy character in my backyard looking in on my wife, an apology is the LEAST I would demand.
  • by BitZtream (692029) on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @01:54PM (#38358420)

    I'm sure their clone will be almost as good as mine, but probably not actually as good.

    The important technology in the device is embedded in chips that are the most tamper resistant devices on the planet, they'll be utterly destroyed and unusable for reverse engineering well before they get anywhere near the tech.

    The optics I'm sure are impressive, but not so much that they'll get some giant leap.

    The encryption keys were worthless before the aircraft hit the ground.

    The paint and fuselage material are the most important things on it that they can gather data from that isn't already something they can get their hands on through other channels.

    Its just silly for anyone to think they have a snowballs chance in hell of doing anything it it. It would be hard for US to reverse engineer it, let alone Iran.

  • by mwfischer (1919758) on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @01:55PM (#38358440) Journal

    Obviously the next course of action is to air strike the shit out of it so the technology doesn't go into enemy hands.

    Hey they asked nice, first.

  • What nonsense (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mr.mctibbs (1546773) on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @01:55PM (#38358452)
    How absolutely ridiculous of them to ask us to apologize for committing an act of war. Hasn't anybody been paying attention? The US, and only the US, has the right to invade other countries' airspace, kidnap, torture, and murder their citizens, and then accuse those countries of breaking the law. That's how democracy works. Those silly backward Iranians just don't get it. It must be Islam's fault.
  • by macraig (621737) <`mark.a.craig' `at' `gmail.com'> on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @01:56PM (#38358472)

    Ummm... if they clone an American drone, won't it still answer to our siren call? Cool, that would make Iran a subcontractor for the U.S. military!

  • by drodal (1285636) on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @01:57PM (#38358500) Homepage
    O give me a clone, of the downed US drone, with the Y chromosome changed to X.......

    (it was funny in the 80's)
  • by medcalf (68293) on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @02:00PM (#38358554) Homepage

    It's possible that we deliberately downed a drone over Iran with a modern appearance but made with the wrong materials, and with old sensors and electronics generally — or maybe with electronics deeply flawed in a subtle way — with the intent of having Russia and China get their hands on it and then underestimate our capabilities. It's possible, that is, that this is actually an intelligence coup of the highest order.

    Knowing our government from inside experience, though, I'm voting for the assclown theory as the survivor of Occam's razor.

    • by MagicM (85041)

      It's possible that we deliberately downed a drone over Iran with a modern appearance but made with the wrong materials

      From now on every U.S. drone should carry a copy of the Anarchist Cookbook so that anyone who finds it will most likely blow themselves up.

  • They already knew (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Squiddie (1942230) on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @02:09PM (#38358718)
    Everyone knows that Iran will not return the drone, and they're in that right. The US politicians will just use this as an excuse to escalate things and drive us closer to another unwanted war.
    • Re:They already knew (Score:5, Informative)

      by LWATCDR (28044) on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @02:41PM (#38359316) Homepage Journal

      Actually under international law they are supposed to return any wreckage from an aircraft that crashes in their territory. That is during peace time. Also as long as the aircraft was not "military" and not armed it is not considered an act of war.

  • Tough call (Score:5, Funny)

    by Aphoxema (1088507) on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @02:14PM (#38358798) Homepage Journal

    IANAL, but according to the precedent set by Keepers Vs. Weepers, I think the US will have a very hard time convincing the courts for the immediate return of their supposed property unless they can get their mommy and daddy involved.

    Oh, this was in Iran? Well, we know where this is going. The US will just go over to Iran's house and shoot his parents in the face.

  • by airfoobar (1853132) on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @02:39PM (#38359260)
    They can try to clone it, but maaan, imagine the IP that must be crammed into that thing!
  • by default luser (529332) on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @03:19PM (#38360172) Journal

    The government announced that it planned to clone and mass produce the bat-winged craft for use against its enemies.

    Good luck with that. Unless you have some magical way to reverse-engineer likely 100,000+ lines of compiled source code, you'll never have more than a remote-controlled airplane with a fancy skin.

    And I really expect that the software is encrypted (or possibly even destroyed). Also, with the expected levels of anti-temper built into the hardware (required by the US Government since the start of this decade), they'll have a helluva time speccing-out the hardware interfaces using test tools.

    Good luck writing your own software from scratch with no idea how the hardware works!

    Now, if they had performed a cyber-attack and stolen source code and hardware specs, THEN I would be concerned. The plane part is relatively easy to build.

  • Did they post it on their digital embassy's blog? :P

One possible reason that things aren't going according to plan is that there never was a plan in the first place.

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