Security, Middle East
Problem: Iran Is Using Western Technology Against U.S. Drones
For years, Iran has been successful in smuggling drone parts in spite of international sanctions, and now its smuggling efforts have moved into counter-drone markets.
Iran shot down a RQ-4A Global Hawk drone last week. Several years ago, in 2011, it demonstrated its evolving capabilities at drone interception when it captured a RQ-170 Sentinel stealth drone. To down the Hawk, Iran claimed to use the 3 Khordad surface-to-air missile system. Prior to that, Iran supposedly jammed the communication links of the RQ-170 Sentinel stealth drone, taking control of the drone inside Iranian territory, later reverse engineering it to produce the Shahed-171 and Saeqah drones. So, on top of drone capabilities, Iran has some counter-drone capabilities—that is the ability to detect, identify, track and/or control unmanned aircraft. It also boasts powerful cyber-attack capabilities that can be used to control enemy drones. Efforts should now focus on preventing Iran from enhancing these capabilities by countering its attempts to obtain Western counter-drone technology.