Iranian military officials have revealed a new domestically built armed unmanned aircraft that they say is capable of reaching much of the rest of the Middle East, including Israel. The drone, called the Shahed-129, was shown on Iranian television yesterday. It bears a striking resemblance to the US military’s MQ-1 Predator (except that its V-shaped tailfin faces up, and not down).

Iranian television video of the Shahed-129.

General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps’ aviation wing, said the drone has a range of over 1,200 miles and can stay airborne for up to 24 hours. The Shahed (or “Witness”) drone can carry missiles or bombs, as well as provide aerial remote surveillance.

It’s not clear whether any technology from the CIA-operated Lockheed Martin RQ-170 (a “stealth” surveillance drone that was captured by the Iranians in December) was incorporated into the Shahed-129.  But the aircraft nearly doubles the range of Iran’s previous drones, including the Karrar jet-powered bomber drone unveiled in 2010.

Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments

via Ars Technica » Technology Lab