If reports from Fox News are correct, the "Beast" is out of the bag. U.S. military sources appear to be confirming reports--first circulated yesterday by Iranian state media--that Iran has in its possession one of America's most sophisticated pieces of stealth technology: the RQ-170 drone, a.k.a. "the Beast of Kandahar" (the same drone that provided support for the Osama bin Laden mission back in May). U.S. military sources have confirmed that the Iranians have the drone, Fox says, but say there's "absolutely no indication" it was shot down, as Iran claims.
For more than a year we've been posting grainy images of the Air Force's RQ-170 Sentinel stealth drone, also known as the "Beast of Kandahar," and speculating about its potential mission profile. Now, via a tweet from the National Journal's Marc Ambinder yesterday, we might finally have an answer: "US Joint Special Operations Command SMU -- from DEVGRU (Navy SEALs), did the shooting. RQ-170 drone overhead. JSOC spotters on ground."
All of a sudden it was there, but then like any good stealth aircraft it vanished. Now the “Beast of Kandahar” has resurfaced in new photos, spurring aviation and defense wonks to once again speculate about the function and purpose of such a stealthy-looking unmanned aerial system.