Crashed American drones have been a boon to Iran’s rusty military, giving it propaganda tokens to parade and, if you buy the government’s claims, useful technical data from reverse-engineering.

But it also appears that U.S. robotic hardware is doing another job for the Iranians—helping keep their fighters pilots ready for war.

Pictures from back in September indicate that Iran has managed to maintain at least a few of its American-made Chukar II target drones—leftovers from the days of the Shah and warmer relations with the U.S. more than 30 years ago—up and running for training exercises. The drones simulate enemy planes and give the Iranian aviators something to chase. […]