Warplanes: Iranian UAV Fleet Expands

Archives

April 8, 2012: Iran has introduced a new locally made UAV, the Shaparak. This one weighs about 100 kg (220 pounds), has an 8 kg (16 pound) payload, and endurance of 3.5 hours. The Shaparak can operate up to 50 kilometers from the operator and at altitudes as high as 4.5 kilometers (15,000 feet).

The Iranians have been developing UAVs since the 1980s. The ones used most frequently are the Ababils. This is an 82 kg (183 pound) UAV with a 2.9 meter (9.5 foot) wing span, a payload of about 35 kg (77 pounds), a cruising speed of 290 kilometers an hour, and an endurance of 90 minutes. The Ababil is known to operate as far as 249 kilometers from its ground controller. But it also has a guidance system that allows it to fly a pre-programmed route and then return to its ground controllers for a landing (which is by parachute). The Ababil can carry a variety of day and night still and video cameras. There are many inexpensive and very capable cameras available on the open market, as well as the equipment needed to transmit video and pictures back to the ground.

The Ababil has been seen in Sudan and Lebanon, where Iranian backed Hezbollah has received about a dozen of them. The Israelis feared that the low flying Ababils could come south, carrying a load of nerve gas or even just explosives. Using GPS guidance such a UAV could hit targets very accurately. Moreover, there's nothing exotic about UAV technology, at least for something like the Ababil. Iranian UAV development got a boost from American UAVs received in the 1970s (Firebee target drones).

Iran also has a larger (174 kg/382 pounds) Mohajer IV UAV, the latest model of a line that began in the 1980s. The Mohajer II is about the same size as the Ababil.

 

 


Article Archive

Warplanes: Current 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 


X

ad
0
20

Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close