Iran drone downing highlights limitations of US unmanned aircraft
US drones have been a key tool in conflicts against insurgent organizations such as the Taliban and the Islamic State group, but Iran's downing of one of the aircraft highlights their limitations against more sophisticated adversaries. While drones offer the significant attraction of not putting American lives at risk and can stay aloft for more than a day, allowing for extended surveillance missions, they can be vulnerable to air defenses, are often expensive, and their loss can lead to sensitive hardware falling into the wrong hands. "I believe sophisticated air defenses will continue to have good chances to shoot down an aircraft like an RQ-4 whenever it is in position to do meaningful surveillance of their territories or other assets," he said, referring to the type of drone brought down by Iran last week near the strategic Strait of Hormuz.
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