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Iran to Unveil First Long-Range Drone Late August


TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi announced the country's plans to unveil the first home-made long-range Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) on August 22. 

An Iranian drone (file photo)

"The long-range UAV named as 'Karrar' will be unveiled on this day," Vahidi said in a press conference here in Tehran on Tuesday.

He also reiterated that the Defense Ministry also plans to unveil two new ground-to-ground missiles and two new home-made vessels equipped with missile and rocket launchers on the national 'Day of Defense Industry' on August 22.

Iran in early February inaugurated the production line of two home-made UAVs with bombing and reconnaissance capabilities.

The two hi-tech drones named 'Ra'd' (Thunder) and 'Nazir' (Harbinger) are capable of conducting long-range reconnaissance, patrolling, assault and bombing missions with high precision.

Ra'd which is a UAV of choice for assault and bombing missions has the capability to destroy the specified targets with high pinpoint precision.

Experts believe that once the UAV enters the scene of aerial missions, it would enhance the reconnaissance, patrolling and defensive power of the Islamic Republic of Iran's Armed Force.

Iran has recently made good progress in the air industry and has succeeded in gaining the technical know-how for producing stealth aircraft and drones.

Iran successfully tested a home-made radar-evading UAV with bombing capabilities in June 2009. Also in 2008, the country's Defense Industries launched production lines of two well-known home-made fighter jets, namely Saeqeh (Thunderbolt) and Azarakhsh (Lightening).

Iran started construction of a plant in the northern province of Mazandaran in March 2009 to mass produce various types of UAVs for a wide variety of missions.

Hamed Saeedi, Managing Director of Farnas Aerospace Company in charge of the project, said that his company has been dealing with designing and manufacturing UAVs and reconnaissance and pilot training drones for the last 9 years.

"We plan to manufacture UAVs, including unmanned choppers and drones, at this site" he said, referring to the plant in Mazandaran province.

Regarding specifications of the UAVs to be produced by the plant, Saeedi noted, "Drones will be of the tactical type, with a short range of 400 to 500 meters flying altitude which cannot be detected by radio waves as they will be stealth aircraft."

He singled out detection and control of contraband trafficking on land and in the sea and assistance in firefighting operations, specially in the woods as among other advantages of the UAVs to be manufactured in the plant.

Tehran launched an arms development program during the 1980-88 Iraqi imposed war on Iran, to compensate for a US weapons embargo. Since 1992, Iran has produced its own tanks, armored personnel carriers, missiles and fighter planes.

Yet, Iranian officials have always stressed that the country's military and arms programs serve defensive purposes and should not be perceived as a threat to any other country.

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