If this is what it looks like, this is bad for everyone who isn’t Iran: after claiming the capture of a downed, super-advanced American drone in 2011, we now have what looks like decoded video straight from its brain.
The video, which The Aviationist’s David Cenciotti says is indeed shot “from the FLIR turret of the RQ-170” Reaper drone, clearly shows Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan — a vital limb of the American military presence in the region. Fears over the drone’s capture had been tempered by the fact that any onboard data would either be damaged or encrypted beyond the point of salvage. Clearly that’s not the case, as the video above is as crisp as anything you’d see straight out of the Pentagon.
There’s the possibility that the video is fake, sure. But the locale depicted looks exactly like KAF, which would be impossible for Iran to access itself. This doesn’t mean the Iranian intelligence apparatus has access to any UAV missions the US is running now, but if another drone were to go down in the future — highly probable — this means its visual cargo is in danger. There’s also no telling what else was onboard the Reaper Iran still has onboard. [The Aviationist]