The Beast of Kandahar

On 4 December 2011, an American Lockheed Martin RQ-170 Sentinel drone, known as "The Beast of Kandahar" was captured by Iranian forces near the city of Kashmar in northeastern Iran. The Iranian government announced that the drone was brought down by its cyberwarfare unit which commandeered the aircraft and safely landed it, after initial reports from Western news sources inaccurately claimed that it had been "shot down". The United States government initially denied the claims but later President Obama acknowledged that the downed aircraft was a US drone and requested that Iran return it.

The Department of Defense released a statement acknowledging that it had lost control of a UAV during the previous week, claiming that it was "flying a mission over western Afghanistan" when control was lost. The statement did not specify the model of the aircraft. The U.S. government also stated that it was still investigating the cause of the loss.

On 10 December 2011, Iran announced that it intended to carry out reverse engineering on the captured RQ-170 Sentinel stealth aircraft. On May 2014, Iranian state TV displayed what was claimed to be a reverse engineered RQ-170. Sources familiar with the RQ-170's design say that the Iranian RQ-170 is merely a static mock-up rather than a flyable aircraft. In November 2014 Iran claimed to have carried out a successful test flight of an aircraft based on reverse engineering of the RQ-170.

In March of 2012, artist James Sham also worked to reverse engineer the "Beast of Kandahar" in San Antonio, TX partnering with local company, Leo's Party Rental. Leo, an advanced engineer in the area of inflatable funhouses worked together with the artist to fabricate a 94% scale model of the drone.