As it does every year, Iran celebrated its National Army Day on April 18 with parades marked by military hardware and anti-Western rhetoric. This year’s festivities were particularly big on drones:
Iranian media outlets reported that Iran unveiled four kinds of drones including radar-evading Sarir unmanned aerial vehicle, Azem 2, and Mohajer B and Hazem 3 at the parade… Azem 2, and Mohajer B drones [were] unveiled during the military parade, Mehr News Agency reported. As IRNA reported, Iran also unveiled another new generation drone, Hazem 3 during the parade… Earlier Iran manufactured two kinds of drones – Ababil and Shahed-129.
The Sarir is long-range drone. Commander of the Khatam ol-Anbia Air Defense Base Brigadier General Farzad Esmayeeli expressed himself very pleased with the platform:
Commander of Khatam ol-Anbia Air Defense Base Brigadier General Farzad Esmayeeli announced that Iran has started mass production of Sarir Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), which was unveiled in military parades today… “Sarir is capable of carrying cameras and air-to-air missiles and tens of this UAV have so far been produced and used,” he added.
Iran and its proxies have been investing heavily in drone technology.
Last October the Iran-backed terror group Hezbollah raided Israeli air space with a drone. Iran took credit for the penetration while former Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora blasted Hezbollah for risking a devastating war with Israel “at an Iranian behest.” In 2011 the IAF shot down an Iranian-made Ababil drone that was operated by Hezbollah. The Ababil was detected near the border and was destroyed by an Israeli F-16. Its debris reportedly fell into the Mediterranean.
Iran is also apparently transferring know-how to Gaza to enable its Palestinian terror proxy Hamas to build basic remotely piloted aircraft.
Israel recently destroyed two unmanned air systems (UAS) development sites in Gaza that were working on Iranian technology. The UAS sites — which included a warehouse where work was ongoing — were targeted by Israeli jets during the early hours of Israel’s November 2012 Operation Pillar of Defense. Subsequent air strikes destroyed an air strip in Gaza that was being used for testing some prototypes of these aircraft. Citing unnamed Israeli sources, a UAS news website linked Hamas’s UAS efforts to Iran.
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