Iran has built an array of unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs. The pneumatically-launched Ababil ("Swallow") has a wingspan of more than 10 feet, and cruises at 160 knots, according to Globalsecurity.org. The Mohajer or Misrad ("Migrant") drone is a bit smaller, and slower-flying.
Iran has supplied Hezbollah, with both models. Misrad drones flew reconnaissance missions in both November 2004 and April 2005. Then, in 2006, during Hezbollah's war with Israel, the group operated both Misrads and Ababils over Israel's skies. At least one was shot down by Israeli fighter jets.
Since then, Tehran claims to have radically upgraded its unmanned fleet. In 2007, Iran said it built a drone with a range of 420 miles. Then, in February, Iran's deputy defense minister claimed its latest UAV could now fly as far as 600 miles -- a huge improvement over crude drones like the Misrad, if true. Iran often exaggerates what its weapons can do. But, if this drone really can stay in the air for for that long, the Washington Times notes, "it could soar over every U.S. military installation, diplomatic mission or country of interest in the Middle East." Including those in Iraq.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Iranian UAV Shot Down by US Jet over Iraq
Danger Room is reporting that an American fighter jet shot down an Iranian drone as it was flying over Iraq last month. The article goes on to state: