The Iranian jet powered drone Karrar launched by Rocket Assist Take-Off (RATO) booster, acceleratingh the vehicle from a stationary ground launcher. Karrar can also be launched from an aerial platform.InternationalIndiaAfricaIran’s defense industry has worked for decades to secure the nation’s status as one of the top three drone powers in the world, designing, building and fielding dozens of types of propeller, rocket-powered and helicopter-style unmanned aerial vehicles – some gleaned from captured and reverse-engineered enemy drones, others entirely homegrown.Iran’s two-day ‘1402 Joint Drone Exercise’ has wrapped up with a bang, with the Islamic Republic showing off several impressive new competencies as commanders boasted of the important role played by UAVs in ensuring the Middle Eastern nation’s security.“We have developed a capability that enables our drones to strike any part of a vessel that we want while it is cruising at a distance of thousands of miles away with the help of artificial intelligence,” Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Commander-in-Chief Hossein Salami told an audience in Tehran Wednesday, emphasizing that drone operators can even “determine the extent of destruction” caused during strikes.Iran showed off a broad array of drones over the two day drills, which involved hundreds of UAVs of various classes, including the all-new Kaman-19 electronic warfare drone and the Arash long-range suicide strike drone, which has a reported range of up to 2,000 km. Amid the drills, Iranian media showed footage of an Ababil-5 reconnaissance and strike UAV keeping tabs on a US Arleigh Burke-class missile destroyer sailing through the northern Indian Ocean.
Footage from the drills also demonstrated a jet-powered, radar-equipped Karrar strike drone hitting and destroying a mock enemy UAV in midair using a Majid AD-08 air-to-air missile, highlighting a capability Iran has never shown publicly before.
The drills also included attacks on other targets, including mock enemy vessels and small ground-based facilities requiring a high level of precision to defeat. The final phase of the exercises saw the deployment of some 200 kamikaze drones striking at 54 targets.Iran has amassed one of the largest, most sophisticated and most diverse arsenals of unmanned aerial vehicles on the planet, with open-source intelligence resources counting literally dozens of different prospective and operational surveillance, strike, kamikaze, target, vertical takeoff-capable and helicopter-style UAV designs.Tehran humbly began its path to global drone superpower status in the 1980s, when it fielded UAVs including the Ababil-1 and the Mohajer-1 to collect intelligence during the brutal Iran-Iraq War of 1980-1988.© Wikipedia / Ebrahim HatamikiaIranian servicemen carry a Mohajer-1 reconnaissance drone during the Iran-Iraq War.Iranian servicemen carry a Mohajer-1 reconnaissance drone during the Iran-Iraq War.Iran rightly treats its drone capabilities as one of three major pillars of its defense against foreign aggression, with the others including its long-range ballistic and cruise missile programs, and modern air defenses – which Iran has not hesitated to use even against the United States to defend its interests and territorial integrity.