Debkafile: Iran’s Saegheh is no ordinary UAV; it is the Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ prize drone for assault and intelligence gathering. It made its debut outside Iran on Saturday, Feb. 10 when it slipped into Israeli airspace, first circling east into Jordan. Until then, the Saegheh (Storm) was not generally known to have reached the Syrian warfront.
After it was brought down almost intact by an Israeli Apache helicopter, Israel Air Force jets bombed the drone’s command vehicle deep in central Syria, at the T-4 base near Palmyra, which is shared by Iran and the Russian air force. The speed of this counter-punch confirmed that Israeli intelligence had tracked the drone from the moment it took to the air from T-4 and was on standby to snag it.
In a long and arduous process of reverse engineering, Iran’s munitions industry copied some of the components of the CIA’s most secret stealth drone, the RQ-170 Sentinel, after it was intercepted and captured over Iran in December 2011.
Opinion: Barack Obama asked Iran to give back the drone which belonged to American forces in neighboring Afghanistan, but Tehran said Washington should apologize for spying on the country with unmanned aircraft.
Needless to say, the drone was never returned which apparently did not set off enough concern to abandon discussions that would leed to the Iran nuclear deal four years into the future.
Revolutionary Guards Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami made no bones about the drone being a threat to US bases said this on Saturday: “Iran has the military power “to destroy all American bases in the region.”
The countdown to war on the northern front is on.