Iran's Captured Drone Is One Strange UAV

Iranian authorities are showing off what they claim is an American ScanEagle UAV. This lightweight drone is launched via catapult, lands via tow cable hookup, and was originally designed for fishing. Like, for fish.

Iran's military claims that they have captured an American drone flying over the Persian Gulf. Iranian officials appearing on state-operated English language cable news network Press TV showed footage of the drone, an unmarked Boeing ScanEagle. However, there's only one problem: American officials say all of the U.S. Navy's UAVs in the Middle East are accounted for.

So what's going on?

  • American officials could be bluffing about not losing any Navy drones.
  • The captured UAV could originate with another military service branch or an intelligence agency.
  • There's also the possibility that the drone is being operated by another country, such as the United Arab Emirates or Canada. ScanEagles are used by multiple Persian Gulf states.
  • There's even a chance that Iran is orchestrating the whole thing or using a drone that was captured weeks or months ago.

One thing is for sure: The ScanEagle is one strange drone.

For starters, ScanEagles are heavily modded fishing robots. It is based on the SeaScan, a UAV designed for use in fishing. SeaScan UAVs are commonly used by commercial fishing operations to do flyovers in search of rich fishing waters. As a result, SeaScans/ScanEagles aren't even intended to land when they finish their mission; manufacturer Insitu designed them to be captured by a long arresting line attached to a ship's boom. This is the reason why SeaScans and ScanEagles have distinctive hooks on their wings.

These UAVs are also extremely light and resemble model airplanes much more than the fearsome Predator drones of popular imagination. ScanEagles weigh approximately 40 pounds and can fly for 24 hours at a time before returning home. Rather than using a runway, they are launched with a giant seaborne slingshot and their electro-optic and infrared cameras quickly kick in.

ScanEagles have been used by the United States Navy since 2005 and are best known as pirate-busters. The small drones, which don't have any weaponry and are designed expressly for surveillance, played a crucial part in the famous 2009 rescue of the cargo vessel MK Maersk Alabama from pirates.

As of press time, Iran has not announced how the ScanEagle was captured. An American UAV was allegedly hacked in Iran in 2011, leading to the UAV's hijacking.

[Image: Press TV]

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35 Comments

  • Emmdigital

    my friend has a special washing machine that makes some wicked  hashish. fully automatic . not sure where its made but that's one kick ass product  .

  • Zanedy

    Somewhere, there is a Whirlpool website, where people are blogging about Iran and SeaScan Drones. 

  • Curmudgeon

    He says the ScanEagle is one strange bird. Well, I agree. It is. I have never in my life seen arresting hooks like those he says are on the ends of the wings. Never. What on earth was the guy smokin' anyway? Who does he think he's talkin' to? I hate being insulted, and he did a pretty good job of it. I like y'alls comments. They're really funny.

  • Panzer111

    those are not "hooks" at end of the wings. They are wing "tiplets", which help stabilize the aircraft.  Educate yourself about aviation before you write an article.

  • Actual Operator

    No dude.  I fly these deployed in Afghan.  They are hooks.  They grab on to a rope.  The rope doesnt move.  When the "winghook" --> Actual official name (Where the F did you get a 'tiplet") grabs the rope, it stops the aircraft from moving.  Which shuts off the engine and you lower the rope thereby lowering the bird...safe into an operators open arms.

  • BobWtmr

    The "tiplets"  or "hooks" look like vertical stabilizers with attaching rudders.

    'You lower the bird into an operators arms.' How small is this bird, ACTUAL? Just curious.

  • Jack Meough

    so we lost another drone/  Consider that we may be sending them   defective knowledge and a transmitter to monitor their conversations.  And if it is made from washing machine parts, perhaps they will use it to clean the sheets they wear.  Those people stink worse than a camel ass, including the stinky one we have at Taco Bell.  serving your food, taking PIN numbers, and covetting our fat ass American women, who love leotards and could also use a washing machine for parts they cannot reach.

  • Tom Davidson

    In 1965 on The Avengers episode "Two's a Crowd" a model airplane was used for an attempted political assassination.  This was 2 years before Israel introduced the world to UAV use by the military during the 6-Day War.  Sometimes life imitates art.

  • Mike7

    Certainly it's true that "today's science fiction is tomorrow's reality".  a concept has to be dreamed and conceived before it ever comes into reality.

    I can readily see a need for flying washing machine drones, Searching out dirty clothing and the American way of life. Dream it and it can happen :)

  • Blackie Cloud

    mayb the reason this drone went down was because it had a Whirlpool warranty that is not worth the paper its written on. Trust me, I know!!!!! Threw 548.00 away buying a Whirlpool washing machine 16 months ago and have to use a use a 5 gallon bucket to put enough water in machine  to get all of the clothes wet. Whirlpool, "YOU SUCK".

  • Jhatz

    My guess is your new machine sits on a base and is higher than your last one.  The full water level is higher than your house drain outlet therefore the water is siphoning out of the machine.  Eliminate the base or raise the drain tube in your house. 

  • Grunt Gunny

    Raise your drain hose loop above the water level of the washing drum...If the loop is lower than the top of the drum it will siphon your drum to the height of the loop...throw the bucket out ...keep the machine....save the embarrassment of the plumber calling you an idiot and collecting 100 bucks for a simple solution ...No thanks needed, The PLUMBER  DUDE.