How did Iran shoot down America’s most advanced spy drone? Doesn’t Iran lack such technology?

– qoura

March 14, 2023

Iran has a weak air force which mainly is composed of old pre-revolution US jets like F14 , F5 and F4 phantoms plus some newer 3rd generation Russian jets like Mig 29 and Su24 and Su25s. Most of the US made plane in Iranian air force are poorly maintained and lack spare parts due to sanctions. No match for USAF.

Iranians are not stupid, they know they can’t match the US air force so they do the obvious , invest in Anti Air systems . Iran’s air defense capabilities is much better than their Air Force so much that they are organized as separate branch of both the Regular Army and the IRGC. Iran paid Billions of dollars to procure potent Russian AA systems as will as developing their own systems (unlike other countries in the middle east).

Here is a list of current Iranian Air Defense systems as of 2019 :

  • S-300 PMU ,4 batteries ( Russian , very capable )
  • Tor M1 , 29 batteries ( Russian , capable )
  • Bavar 373 , 12 batteries ( Iranian S-300 replica , unknown capability)
  • S-200/SA-5 , 10 upgraded battalions ( Russian 70s technology, mediocre)
  • MIM-23 Hawk , 200 launchers ( American 70s technology , poor )
  • SA-6 Kub , 50 launchers (Russian 70s & 80s technology, poor)
  • RAAD/3rd of Khordad, 100+systems (Iranian built, unknown capability)
  • RAAD/15th of Khordad, Newly unveiled (Iranian , unknown capability)
  • Rapier Missile , 30 launchers ( British 70s technology, poor )
  • Mersad/Shahin , 100+ (Local built MIM23 Hawk , poor )
  • HQ7 / Ya Zahra , 100+ ( Chinese and local built copies , poor )
  • HQ2/Sayyad /SA-2 , 400+ launchers (Chinese and Iranian , Poor )
  • Oerlikon GDF/Samavat , 100+ Autocannons ( Switzerland and Iranian)
  • Anti Air Artillery , 1000+ of different Calibers 23, 57 and 100 mm (Obsolete , but useful vs low flying targets , cruise missiles and in area denial tactics)

These missiles and guns are supplemented by a huge array of radars too numerous to count. Most of these Radar systems are locally built and are either reversed engineered Russian or American systems.

In conclusion , saying that any attacking aircraft would get some kind of Flak over Iran would be an understatement.

The RQ-4A Global Hawk is a large UAV with some 40 meters wingspan, it is also a slow moving UAV with a cruise speed of 575 km/h, but this doesn’t mean that’s an easy target as it was flying at high altitude. The fact that it was shot down by Iranian built system called the 3rd of Khordad (part of the RAAD systems)and most importantly that it was acquired and targeted by Iranian made radars gives credit to Iranian technology. This shows that Iranians weapons and their technology isn’t as bad as US media shows.

Americans Usually underestimate their opponents technology like they did with Soviet missiles in the 50s by flying their high altitude reconnaissance U-2 spy planes deep inside soviet airspace , but eventually they got one of their U-2 planes shot down in 1960 and learned their lesson and stopped fly overs into Soviet altogether. History repeats itself again with the US underestimating the Iranians .

“The commonest mistake in history is underestimating your opponent , it happens at the poker table all the time “ General David M. Shoup.

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