No doubt they are getting help from some very interesting folks, including Russia and China, who would both dearly love to see the drone's innards.
Iran's military has started to build a copy of a U.S. surveillance drone captured last year after breaking the software encryption, Iranian media reported on Sunday.
General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, head of the Revolutionary Guards aerospace division, said engineers were in the final stages of decoding data from the Sentinel aircraft, which came down in December near the Afghan border, Mehr news agency reported.
Iran said the unmanned aircraft was shot down, but Washington disputes that and says the security systems mean Iran is unlikely to get valuable information from the Lockheed Martin Corp drone.
"The Americans should be aware to what extent we have infiltrated the plane," Fars news agency quoted Hajizadeh as saying. "Our experts have full understanding of its components and programmes."
Iran's military regular announces defense and engineering developments, but some analysts are skeptical as to how reliable those reports are.
The RQ-170 Sentinel has been widely used since 2010 in Afghanistan and Pakistan. It played a role in the capture of Osama bin Laden last year, analysts say.
An Iranian defense official said recently that Tehran has received numerous requests for information on the craft and that China and Russia have shown most interest.
No doubt that as our enemy discovers the drone's secrets, we are taking countermeasures to block them. What surprised me is that the crashed drone did not have a self-destruct device, or if it did, the device failed to function. We may have lost communications with the drone, and were unable to send a signal.But shouldn't there have been some kind of back up in case that happened?
Did the Pentagon believe that none of our drones would ever be shot down? They appear to be taking this in stride despite the grave implications. If the Iranians can figure out the software, they will shortly be able to tell Hezb'ollah and any other terrorist group how to track and defeat them. That would reduce the drone's effectiveness and make it harder to kill them.