18 November 2013, 12:47

Biggest Iranian drone unveiled: 30 hours nonstop flight, 1,200 miles range

Biggest Iranian drone unveiled: 30 hours nonstop flight, 1,200 miles range

Iran has unveiled a new aircraft that it says is the biggest drone yet to be developed in the Islamic Republic, capable of staying aloft for up to 30 hours.

Iran held presentation of its largest yet home-made unmanned aerial vehicle (UVA), titled "Fotros", IRNA news agency reported on November 18.

Iranian Defense Minister Hossein Dehgan and other officials attended the presentation ceremony held on the day of liberation of Iran's city of Susangerd that was captured by Iraq during the 80's Iran-Iraq war.

Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan says the reconnaissance and combat drone Fotros has a range of 2,000 kilometers (1,250 miles). That would cover much of the Middle East including Israel.

"The Fotros drone has an operational range of 2,000 kilometres and can fly at an altitude of 25,000 feet, with a flight time of 16 to 30 hours," Defence Minister Mohammad Dehgan was quoted as saying.

Dehgan said the new drone could carry out reconnaissance missions or launch air-to-surface missile strikes.

The aircraft was tested "successfully" and "shows that sanctions imposed by the enemies are not an obstacle to the progress of the defence industry," the minister told the unveiling ceremony.

The official IRNA news agency quoted Dehghan as saying Monday that Iranian scientists designed and developed the drone.

Iran is pursuing military self-sufficiency, and frequently announces technological breakthroughs. Most cannot be independently confirmed.

In recent years, Iran has launched an ambitious drone programme, causing worry in the United States and the West.

In late September, the elite Revolutionary Guards announced the mass production of the "Shahed 129" drone, which it said has a range of 1,700 kilometres, is capable of carrying eight missiles and can fly for 24 hours.

In the same month, Iran unveiled a reconnaissance drone named "Yasseer," which was said to be capable of flying for eight hours with a range of 200 kilometres and at an altitude of 4,500 meters.

Yasseer was based on the US ScanEagle drone, a model of which Tehran claimed to have captured in December 2012 and reproduced since then.

The Iranian army also recently boasted that it was producing a series of drones called Rad-85.

The country says it is fighting an intelligence battle with the US and Israel, which accuse Tehran of seeking to develop a nuclear weapons capability. Iran denies the charges.

Voice of Russia, AFP, IRNA

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