Pictures broadcast by Iranian television of the stealth RQ-170 Sentinel will have made grim viewing in Washington.
Iran has rejected US calls for its return, and state television says military experts were in the final stages of recovering data.
So how easy is it to extract information from a drone?
It all depends what state the aircraft was in when they recovered it, says Nick Brown, editor-in-chief of Jane's International Defence Review.
"It could have crashed and come apart. The version seen on the video clips could be a reconstruction. But if the aircraft is relatively intact, you could take a fair bit from it." Read More