Iranian Army to get 1,000 new drones


The Defense Ministry of Iran is going to supply the Army with 1,000 military drones soon, Tasnim news agency reports. The Iranian Defense Ministry and the Army on Monday signed a “strategic agreement” on the promotion of drone power and the equipment carried by unmanned military aircraft.
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Shahed 129 UAV seen during the Eqtedar 40 defense exhibition in Tehran (Picture source: Wikipedia)


Under phase 1 of the agreement, the Defense Ministry has undertaken to equip the Army with 1,000 drones of undisclosed types in a short time span. Defense Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami told reporters after signing the agreement that Iran is ranked fifth or sixth in the world in terms of drone capabilities.

In January 2021, the Iranian Army staged a massive wargame using various indigenous drones for different operations including aerial interception, launch of air-to-air missiles, destruction of ground targets with bombs and missiles with pinpoint accuracy, and suicide strikes. Military officials say the Army experts have dramatically increased the flight endurance of suicide UAVs, manufacturing drones with an operational range of 4,000 kilometers.

Among the various types of UAVs developed by Iran, the Shahed 129 is a single-engine medium-altitude long-endurance unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) designed by Shahed Aviation Industries for the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). The Shahed 129 is capable of combat and reconnaissance missions and has an endurance of 24 hours; it is similar in size, shape and role to the American MQ-1 Predator and is widely considered the most capable drone in Iranian service. The UAV has been used for airstrikes in the Syrian Civil War and for border patrol on Iran's eastern border. Together with the Saegheh, the Shahed 129 is expected to form the backbone of Iran's high-end UAV fleet for at least the next decade.


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Saegheh-2 (Thunderbolt) (Picture source: Wikipedia)


The Saegheh-2 (Thunderbolt) is a turbofan/piston-powered flying wing unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) produced by Shahed Aviation Industries. It is based on, but smaller than and substantially different from, a Lockheed Martin RQ-170 Sentinel UAV that was captured and reverse-engineered by Iran. It is one of two Iranian flying wing UAVs based on the RQ-170, along with the Shahed 171 Simorgh. The Saegheh was revealed in October 2016. A number of sources have expressed doubt that the Seagheh is weapons-capable, and say it is solely an ISR platform. Iran planned to procure at least 50 by 2025.

Among other models developed by Iran, let us just mention Mohajer-6, Kian (Arash), Kaman-12, Karrar, and Ababil-2.


 

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