Business Insider reports that the RQ-170 Sentinel drone developed by US defence company Lockheed Martin has been recreated by Chinese military manufacturers. An image has surfaced on Chinese forums showing two aircraft that highly resemble the model used by the American military.
This is not the first time that technological details of the RQ-170 Sentinel drone have been compromised. In 2011 a drone crashed during a flyover of Iran and was subsequently captured by Iranian forces, who claimed to have later reverse engineered the drone. It is from the Iranians that the Chinese allegedly learned the logistical details of the aircraft.
Captured drone on display in Iran.
Unmanned drones have been consistent source of controversy due to their lethal and effective use in warfare. They are best known for their use by the United States Air Force in operations in the Middle East and Northern Africa. Drones however have also be used for far less nefarious purposes, such as stopping illegal hunting and other crime surveillance.
The details of this copycat drone are sketchy and the picture that is ostensibly proof of their creation is too fuzzy to confirm anything. However, in light of recent news of Chinese theft of American military secrets it is not out of the realm of possibility that the RQ-170 Sentinel has been recreated to some aspect. Due to the secretive nature of both the American and Chinese militaries, it is unlikely that we will truly know what has happened until the new drones are flying.
[Image credit: The Aviationist]