US use of stealth spy drones in Afghanistan raises questions
December 11, 2009 3 Comments
By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
On December 6, we posted a link to a photo of what appeared to be a classified US drone aircraft, which was published on a blog belonging to French newspaper Libération. Then, unexpectedly, on December 8, the US Air Force admitted that the mystery aircraft, dubbed ‘the Beast of Kandahar’ by aviation spotters, is the RQ-170 Sentinel, an unmanned, unarmed surveillance and reconnaissance drone with stealth capabilities, that is officially still in production by US defense contractor Lockheed Martin. That’s all well and fine. But the question is: why would the US be using a stealth drone against the Taliban in Afghanistan, who have no known antiaircraft radar systems, and are therefore unable to track enemy surveillance planes? The theory that the US Air Force is testing the mysterious plane appears weak, since the plane’s stealth capabilities can only be tested against an enemy equipped with sophisticated radar technology. What seems more likely is that the RQ-170 is based and flies out of Afghanistan, but its real surveillance targets are located in neighboring Pakistan and –especially– Iran. That would also explain the secrecy surrounding the plane’s existence.