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Iran - Unmanned Air Vehicles UAV

  • Gaza
  • Ghods Saeghe
  • H-110 Sarir (UAV)
  • Hazem (UAV)
  • HESA Ababil
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  • Shahed 129
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  • Sofreh Mahi
  • Nightmare of the Vultures
  • Zohal
  • Iranian Armed Forces are among the worlds top five powers capable of building combat drones, the commander of the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force (IRIAF) said 04 February 2019. Brigadier General Aziz Nasirzadeh told IRNA that the Iranian Armed Forces can manufacture any drones they require through reliance on the skills of domestic experts, adding that such achievements have been made despite sanctions and threats.

    "Sanctions have had no impact on the performance of the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force and we are currently one of the most powerful air forces in the region and even in the world" the IRIAF commander pointed out. Over the past years, Iran has made major breakthroughs in its defense sector and attained self-sufficiency in producing military equipment and hardware despite sanctions and economic pressures on the country.

    The Islamic Republic maintains that its military power poses no threat to other countries and is based on its military doctrine of deterrence. The senior spokesman of the Iranian Armed Forces, Brigadier General Abolfazl Shekarchi, on Sunday once again reiterated Iran's message of peace and friendship to the world, emphasizing that the country seeks no one's permission to boost its defense capabilities. "The Islamic Republic of Iran manufactures any equipment it requires to defend the country and will not ask for anybody's permission in this regard," Shekarchi told IRNA.

    The number of countries developing UAVs has increased dramatically from 2005 to 2010, by which time there were over 50 countries developing more than 900 different UAV systems. This growth is attributed to countries seeing the success of the United States with UAVs in Iraq and Afghanistan and deciding to invest resources into UAV development to compete economically and militarily in this emerging area. Iran has developed and fielded tactical UAVs that are less sophisticated than Western designs, but still can perform missions, such as intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance and one-way strike missions. US trade embargos on countries such as Iran, North Korea, and Syria cover UAV technology, along with a wide array of other items.

    Irans Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force units operating in Syria fired roughly 20 rockets into Israels Golan Heights in May 2018. In February 2018, Israel shot down a weaponized Iranian drone launched from Syrian territory.

    Iran has a long history with UAV experimentation, demonstrated limited exploitation of the IRMA, and expanded its UAV use in the maritime domain over the past 20 years. Remotely guided drones are a powerful arm of any army or intelligence unit. Due to the strategic and border position with several different countries as well as possible threats, Iran needs a variety of these UAVs, and there have been many efforts in this direction. Iran's first use of the drones goes back to the time of the Iraq-Iran war, but where is it standing today in terms of UAVs? Iran's progress in the field of drone manufacturing is so dramatic that it has surprised the world; however, it owes this progress to the unwelcomed sanctions by the United States.

    Along with the Islamic Revolution in 1979, Iran became the victim of the worst crippling sanctions especially in military areas. During the war Iranians managed to use military drones and even mounted rockets on them. But today, they are known as one of the top 10 drone producers in the world. Iran showed its power of military drones just recently in its retaliatory attacks against terrorists in Syria's Deir ez-Zor and the Iraqi Kurdistan region.

    Irans UAV capabilities have improved significantly since their initial fielding. Although the country has operated unmanned aircraft since the early 1980s, development and employment of new UAV airframes as part of routine surveillance operations is relatively new for the Iranian military. Iranian drones range from STUAS platforms to MALE airframes.

    Iran's progress in the field of drone manufacturing has been very impressive. The Sadegh UAV displayed 3 years ago, is one example. Its flight ceiling is 15000 feet or 4500 Metres. It operates with a velocity or speed of 200 Km per hour, a mass of 242 Kg, 6 hours flight endurance and an operational radius of 200 Km. Mohajer-6 is the Mohajer family blueprint metamorphosed. To achieve this model, Iranian defense experts seem to have localized one of Europe's best tactical UAVs, the Falco. Less than a year ago began the mass production of Mohajer-6 UAVs. This put the number of Iran's long-range UAVs at 3. The 2000 Km-Thrust threesome comprises the Shahed, Fotros and Mohajer-6.

    In the field of unmanned aerial vehicles, Iran is now one of the worlds top four or five countries, and the top drone power in the region. Iran's UAV program has expanded in recent years with more than a dozen models operating for a variety of functions ranging from surveillance to intelligence gathering, carrying bombs and Kamikaze operations. They have been playing a significant role in the fight against Takfiri terrorists as well as monitoring US warships in the Persian Gulf.

    Iran currently possesses the biggest collection of captured or downed American and Israeli drones, including the American MQ-1, MQ-9, Shadow, ScanEagle, and RQ-170 as well as the Israeli regime's Hermes, according to IRGC Aerospace Commander Brigadier General Amir-Ali Hajizadeh.

    Iran is publicly known to have approximately fifteen different variants of UAVs based on eleven distinct airframes. Most Iranian unmanned platforms are designed for ISR but newer platforms like the Shahed 129 show an Iranian proclivity to arm unmanned aircraft. The oldest platform in the Iranian inventory is the Ababil class of UAV. Developed indigenously by HESA in the early 1980s, the Ababil comes in short-range, medium-range, and attack variants in the Ababil-S, Ababil II, and Ababil-T, respectively. The latest version of the airframe, called the Ababil III, was released in 2014. The newest platform in the Iranian inventory is the Fotros, claimed by Iran to have a 30-hour endurance at 25,000 feet. Iran announced the Hamaseh unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV), which made its unarmed debut in 2016 during Irans Great Prophet exercises.

    In 2012, Iranian media reported that Tehran was developing a "mother drone" -- a pilotless aircraft capable of launching multiple microdrones. Designed by a student at Isfahan University, according to Iranian media, the as-yet-unseen craft is said to be capable of carrying five baby drones. Iran is believed to have more than a dozen types of surveillance drones currently in existence, including the Fotros, which is Iran's largest unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) and is said by Iranian officials to have a range of 2,000 kilometers.

    According to a RAND report, Iran is still "unable to develop UAVs that can cruise high enough to avoid terrain yet low enough to avoid radar, especially against enemies on high alert, such as Israel or U.S. bases in the Middle East." Iranian drones have been spotted in Syria and Iraq and have been shot down over Lebanon by the Israeli military.

    Iran UAV basesTwo of Irans most frequently employed UAVs in the maritime domain are the Mohajer class and the Shahed 129 UCAV. The Mohajer class of UAV, like the Ababil, saw use in the Iran-Iraq war. The platforms latest upgrade is the Mohajer-4, depicted in Figure 6, commonly used to surveil U.S. Navy vessels transiting at sea.

    In November 2006, the US Government provided German officials information indicating that Iran was in possession of L550E engines manufactured by the German firm Limbach Flugmotoren GmbH & Co. - likely supplied by the Dutch firm Aviation Services International (ASI). The US also advised the FRG that the Taiwanese firm Prime Kit Enterprises Inc. was working as a middleman for an additional shipment of Limbach engines to Iran.

    In July 2007, German authorities advised the US that their investigation confirmed that Limbach shipped 34 engines to Iran via ASI, and that Limbach was likely aware of the fact that the end-user was Iranian. German interlocutors also advised that the Federal General Prosecutor had initiated legal proceedings against the firm for violating the Foreign Trade and Payments Act. As of July 2007, the German Federal Economic and Export Licensing Agency (BAFA) was still investigating the possible connection between Limbach and Prime Kit, though BAFA did confirm that ASI had shipped four Limbach-produced engines to Taiwan firms between March 2005 and October 2006.

    Between July 2007 and January 2008, the UAE-based firm Noor Aerospace Technologies was working to supply Iran Aircraft Manufacturing Technologies with several types of engines, including Limbach L-550E engines. In an effort to facilitate this transaction, Noor intended to falsify export licensing documents by labeling the engines as "pneumatic pumps" and to make it appear as though the end-user is not in Iran, but in another country in the region.

    One of the less known Iranian drone features is the development of a technology for the design and construction of a type of engine named Wankel. Although this type of engine has been available to the defense industries of the United States for many years, the availability of Iranian specialists to this capability in the difficult conditions of boycotting the country, suggests the growth and improvement of the level of defense technology in the country.

    In the case of rotary engines, the combustion pressure enters a force on the surface of a triangle rotor that completely leaks the combustion chamber. This piece (rotor) is what is used instead of the piston. As the rotor moves, each of these three volumes will gradually expand and contract; it is the same contraction and expansion that blows air and fuel mixture into the cylinder and condensates it. During the expansion process, it produces a useful power and exhaust gases. Engines have a spark ignition and fuel system similar to piston engines.

    Navy Commander Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi said 23 July 2019 Iran is in possession of intercontinental drones and will definitely put them to use if the need for a long-haul mission arises. Elaborating on Iran's drone capabilities in an interview with the Young Journalists Club (YJC) published on Tuesday, Khanzadi said the country monitors American ships in the Persian Gulf and has "complete images and a large archive of the daily and moment-by-moment movements" of the vessels belonging to the US and its allies.

    "We can bravely declare that we observe all enemy ships, particularly Americans, point-by-point from their origin until the moment they enter the region," he said, adding that Iran's Armed Forces also possess information about the type of their missions and their conduct in the region. Khanzadi also complained that enemy ships create "severe insecurity" by "aimless sailing and hypocritical behavior" in the region. "Our drones monitor their ships and warships from their entry moment and the monitoring process continues until they sail into the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman. Their behavior in the Persian Gulf, which is part of our identity and our backyard, is fully under watch based on international law and aviation regulations," he said.

    Asked about UAVs for intercontinental missions, the Iranian Navy chief said, "Yes, now we have this type of drones and will definitely use them if necessary."

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    Page last modified: 21-05-2021 15:26:25 ZULU