After shooting down an Iranian UAV on Saturday, the IAF is continuing to study it in order to determine how much of its technology is similar to that of the American RQ-170 on which it was seemingly based.

A HESA Saeqeh of the Iranian Air Force

A HESA Saeqeh of the Iranian Air Force Photo credit: Wikipedia

The Israeli Air Force says it deliberately did not destroy the Iranian unmanned aircraft that infiltrated Israel’s airspace on Saturday in order to study its technology. Israeli forces are still searching the area where the drone was downed for more of its parts.

Pictures of the Iranian drone have indicated that it was based on an American model, the Lockheed Martin RQ-170, which Iran captured in December 2011. IAF technicians have been examining the Iranian drone to see how similar its systems are to those of the American original.

The answer to this question is of major concern to the United States as well, for it could shed light on the extent of Iran’s current military and technological capabilities. There is still uncertainty in Israel and the US with regard to Iran’s exact intentions behind the operation of the drone, though IAF officials have clarified that it “did not enter Israel by mistake.”

IAF Air Staff Commander Brig. Gen. Tomer Bar said the Iranian drone spent about a minute and a half in Israel’s airspace. He added that the Israeli strike caused “substantial damage” to the Syrian defense system.