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Ababil (Swallow) Unmanned Air Vehicle

Iran had been attempting to develop a Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) industry, and some of its UAVs were used operationally in 1997 to shadow US Navy operations in the gulf. Other reports suggested Iran's use of UAVs to monitor events in Afghanistan in the 1990s during the civil war. Iran development included the tactical Ababil-5, a medium-range reconnaissance and surveillance UAV, the Ababil-T, a short/medium-range attack UAV, and the Ababil-B and -S. Iran recently announced the production of two new variants of its indigenously developed Ababil UAV, one of which, dubbed Ababil-S, was designed specifically for ISR operations.

The Ababil UAV has a canard configuration. Due to this fact the risk of stall and crash was been reduced by 30%. Accurate aerodynamic design gave it a good stability characteristics with high speed and maneuverability.

Ababil like many other UAVs does not need a runway to take off. Instead, it is launched by a pneumatic launcher. By comparison, this launcher is very reliable, safe, easy to use, and has a low maintenance requirement. This is a reusable stand alone system. The launcher is installed on a Benz-911 truck, which also provides the power required to product air pressure for pneumatic system, the other necessary equipments such as Electric Generator and field maintenance tools are carried on the truck.

The Ababil can be also launched by using a rocket launch system. This method of launching is very simple. It provides the ability for launching the aircraft from a ship deck. This system consists of a three point attachment linkage, rockets, a trolly and its base and a detonator. The system is portable and can be easily assembled and disassembled.

Ababil is equipped with the Shahid Noroozi guidance and control system designed and manufactured in Iran. It is composed of two aerial and ground section. The aircraft control system is provided with an autopilot system that transfers flight information data to the ground station via a datalink. The system is able to launch the aircraft, perform different maneuvers, fly to 30 km range, loiter and simulate air attacks and finally recover the aircraft at a given point. The range could be increased up to 120 km simply by increasing the output power of the communication system.

In the ground station, the aircraft position and flight condition are displayed. Using this data, the pilot is able to guide and control the aircraft. The computer system shows the aircraft attitude, engine, speed, fuel consumption and emergency recovery signals. Using radar, the tracking and reading angles are known to the ground station at all times during flight.

The Ababil has a CCD TV camera and IR Charge (Flare) systems. Also carried is a Miss Distance Indicator (MDI), a system that works based on the acoustic measurment. The distance of the fired bullets from the aircraft geometric center and bullet motion path can be measured by the system. This information is displayed in ground station, providing the training officer with accurate information to correct the targeting operation until an appropriate level of accuracy is reached.

The parachute recovery system was been chosen so that the aircraft could be recovered in any condition. The parachute is designed and manufactured according to MIL-STD by Iran Aircraft Manufacturing Industries (HESA). It is a cross type parachute which provides a descent rate of 4 m/s. Using this parachute, the aircraft is recovered safely without any serious damage due to wind, the parachute is released immediately after it touches down. Using skids also provides the possibility of conventional landing on a runway.

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