Iran announced in December last year that it had captured the RQ-170 U.S. spy drone that had invaded its airspace. It seems the Iranians have been playing with it ever since and have now succeeded in making a clone.
While the U.S. thought it had crashed, the Iranian military had apparently hacked the drone's control system and brought it down safely.
Some time ago, Iran made a copy of the clone as a simple toy and sent it to the U.S. in a joking response to demands to hand over the aircraft.
The media in Tehran say it has now completed reverse-engineering the drone and begun building its own.
According to Fars News Agency in Iran, there has been an announcement by senior military officials that experts have now decoded the intelligence gathering system and memory hard disks of the RQ-170.
While the Revolutionary Guard still needs to decode some of the software used by the drone, General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, head of Iran's aerospace division, said on Sunday.
"The Americans should be aware to what extent we have infiltrated the plane. Our experts have a full understanding of its components and programs."
As proof the Iranians had accessed the drone's hidden memory, the commander told the Iranian media that the device had revealed that the drone had flown over Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden's hideout in Pakistan, 2 weeks prior to his death.
However, the Pentagon has stated that the drone's security is such that Iranian engineers will not be able to crack its technology.
A member of the Armed Services Committee, U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman doubts Iran's technical capabilities and said in a television interview: "There's a history here of Iranian bluster, particularly now when they're on the defensive because of our economic sanctions against them."
Tehran announced earlier in the week that a number of nations, including China and Russia, had approached Iran over the possibility of sharing military technology developed while studying the drone.