The US captured drone is no less than a prized acquisition for Iran. US authorities will, definitely, be worried even to imagine about the dissection and copying of its state-of-the-art flying robot. According to some sources, Iran is planning to dissect the US high-tech booty to test some reverse engineering tools and techniques. As US Air Force Chief Gen. Norton Schwartz has admitted that “There is the potential for reverse engineering, clearly.” But some other sources believe that it won’t be easy for Iran alone to break down the unmanned RQ- 170 and she would need some assistance from China and Russia (Two biggest arms exporters to Iran)
However, some designers of UAV or unmanned aerial vehicle believe that to reverse engineer an ultra modern drone is not that simple. The released photos and videos of the captured RQ-170 show that it’s mostly undamaged. The better the condition of the RQ-170, the easier it will be to dismember and ultimately copy it. Chances are Iran captured the RQ-170 intact, yet some sources are doubtful regarding authenticity of the released videos and images. They might have got nothing more than the debris of the crashed drone.
In any way, it would be difficult, or even impossible for Iran to disassemble the RQ-170 alone. But its aides would definitely love to help it out. They will be eager to get their hands on its different systems and to learn the way it works. Chinese are notorious for their weird knacks for reverse engineering. Russians are always on the ball, but they are not as efficient as Chinese that routinely copy military hardware. According to some reports, experts from both countries have already arrived at Tehran and definitely they would be getting some hands-on experience to one of the masterpieces of the latest technology.
The basic construction of the sentinel, its radar evading shape and other such details may become an open secret for those inspecting drone. Another UAV designer believes that it’s hard for experts to figure out its optimal geometry or copy the shape, but the real hard to detect thing is its right recipe. The right composition of non-metal compounds and alloys, and this is where the entire process of reverse-engineering would become highly complicated. Even if the materials composition is figured out, re-producing it in the same way is a totally different issue.
In short, the Iranian, Chinese and Russian experts will be trying to figure out the right recipe for the drone’s non-metal composites and alloys that could decrease its radar signature (as its shape does). The experts could focus on Drone sensors and materials, but they would be uncertain about the devices the Sentinel can carry. Ground mapping radars and videos cameras are some common components, but apart from these, there might be several other complex components that can be altered as per the requirements of the situation. Tehran and its aides may easily dissect the captured drone, but copying it wouldn’t be that simple.