Iranians shoot down Thunderbird 2!

Over the weekend, Richard blogged about the Iranians’ scary new bomber drones, and their uncanny resemblance to Thunderbird 2. Alas for the Iranians, the project has been set back by some bad news:

A few weeks ago, according to official and private reports, the Iranian air force shot down three drones near the southwestern city of Bushehr, where a Russian-supplied nuclear reactor has just started up. When the Revolutionary Guards inspected the debris, they expected to find proof of high-altitude spying. Instead, the Guards had to report to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei that the air force had blasted Iran’s own unmanned aircraft out of the sky.

Apparently, according to official Iranian press accounts, the Iranian military had created a special unit to deploy the drones—some for surveillance and others, as President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad bragged on Sunday, to carry bombs—but hadn’t informed the air force.

GD readers will doubtless share a particular appreciation for the fact that in the middle of the world’s most unstable neighbourhood, with Israel straining at the leash to let loose its F16s, the Iranians’ nemesis emerged to be… their own lack of policy coherence.