Iran isn’t likely to learn much from the loss of a top-secret U.S. spy drone over its territory, even though pictures shown on Iranian television indicate the Iranians actually are in possession of the intact drone. The basic principles of stealth aircraft design are well known, and designers would not have incorporated the latest, greatest U.S. technology into an aircraft likely to one day fall into hostile hands. Beyond that, the on-board sensors and software were “highly encrypted” according to Reuters, impeding the ability of the Iranians to unlock their secrets. Because the drone was lost due to a malfunction rather than Iranian defenses, the U.S. intelligence community can continue monitoring developments in Iran with similar systems. I have written a commentary for Forbes that you can read here.
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