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Sat Feb 9, 2013 9:6AM
The production line of the US ScanEagle drones in Iran

The production line of the US ScanEagle drones in Iran

The Iranian deputy defense minister says Iran is among the top five countries in the world that possess drone technology. Mohammad Eslami said on Friday that Iran is also among the “top ten countries in the world” in most fields of military sector. The Iranian Defense Ministry official added that the Islamic Republic is currently designing and manufacturing some 20 unmanned aerial vehicles, which are categorized in terms of the range and altitude of flights. The long-range UAVs are “strategic,” Eslami explained. He pointed to Iran’s experience of manufacturing short-range drones and added that the country is currently mass producing UAVs with a range of 200 kilometers. Eslami said the latest Iranian long-range strategic drone may be unveiled on May 24. Iran unveiled its first indigenous long-range drone, Karrar, in August 2010. The aircraft is capable of carrying a military payload of rockets to carry out bombing missions against ground targets, flying long distances at a high speed, and gathering information. In September 2012, the country also unveiled a new indigenous UAV, Shahed 129, with a 24-hour nonstop flight capability. On Friday, Iran for the first time released images of the production line of an indigenous unmanned aerial vehicle that is manufacturing copies of the US ScanEagle drone. On December 17, 2012, Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Navy Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi said Iran had launched the production line of ScanEagle drones, adding that the IRGC Naval and Aerospace Division was employing the UAVs. SF/HSN/MA
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