Iran among top five combat drone powers: Air Force chief

MNA – Iranian Armed Forces are among the world’s top five powers capable of building combat drones, says the commander of the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force (IRIAF).

Brigadier General Aziz Nasirzadeh said on Sunday that “Iran is the first top power in terms of combat drones in the region, and is among the top five in the world.”

Referring to the new domestically-manufactured drones delivered to the Air Force, the IRIAF chief said, “The Air Force possesses a well-equipped manned aircraft squadron, however, we need to modernize our UAV fleet as well to in order to keep our deterrence power at high levels.

His comments came a day after Iran’s Defense Ministry made mass delivery of new combat and surveillance drones, including a jet-powered multipurpose UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) to Army’s Air force and Air Defense Force.

Noting that the majority of the new deliveries are Karar drones, the top commander said, the UAV is capable of carrying high tonnages of ammunitions, which are usually carried manned aircraft.

The new multipurpose jet-powered UAV could travel at speeds of 900 kmph and conduct operations at an altitude of 12 kilometers. the drone can fly for up to 180 minutes and have a range of 1000 kilometers.

Another UAV delivered to the IRIAF is Ababil-3 drone, a medium-range surveillance craft capable of conducting airstrikes within a 150-kilometer radius.

The Ababil drone is a strategic combat drone that can deliver payloads comparable to manned aircraft.

Iran has made major breakthroughs in the past years in its defense sector and attained self-sufficiency in producing military equipment and hardware despite facing sanctions and Western economic pressure.

Tehran has repeatedly said its military might poses no threat to other countries, and that its defense doctrine is based on deterrence.