Iran unveils drones with bombs, missiles

Iran unveils drones with bombs, missiles

Iran unveils drones with bombs, missiles

An Iranian demonstrator, depicting Ahmadinejad, protests in New York.

Iran has unveiled a new drone that can carry weapons and tested anti-air and anti-ship missiles, its Revolutionary Guards said Sept. 24, in a show of military readiness for a war with Israel their chief says is inevitable.

Brig. Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, the commander of the Guards’ aerospace division charged with missile defense, announced a new drone, dubbed Shahed 129, with a range of 2,000 kilometers. “It is able to carry bombs and missiles... it has the ability to fly non-stop for 24 hours, it does surveillance,” Fars news agency quoted him as saying.

Copy of US drone?

His description of the aircraft, which Iran first announced last week, is like that of the American RQ-170 Sentinel, one of which went down in Iranian territory last year. Iran said it was building a copy of the RQ-170 in April. The drone can also be equipped with electronic and communication systems including cameras that can capture and send live images.

Earlier in the day, the army successfully test-fired the country’s latest domestically manufactured anti-air and anti-ship missile systems. Medium-range surface-to-air missiles designed to knock attacking aircraft out of the sky at a range of 50 kilometers were successfully fired Sept. 24.

The new, Taer-2 missiles were part of an anti-air defense system known as Ra’ad (Thunder), the statement said. Rear Adm. Ali Fadavi, the commander of the Guards’ navy, also said that on Sept. 23 a naval drill was held in which four missiles hit a warship-sized target, sinking it in 50 seconds. It was the first report of an Iranian military exercise taking place simultaneously and close to U.S.-led joint naval maneuvers in the Persian Gulf, including mine-sweeping drills.

 The U.S. Navy claims the maneuvers are not directly aimed at Iran, but the West and its regional allies have made clear they would react against attempts by Tehran to carry out threats to try to close critical Gulf oil shipping lanes in retaliation for tighter sanctions.

Israel in recent weeks has ratcheted up its threats to possibly launch air strikes on Iranian nuclear facilities, with or without help from the U.S. Hajizadeh said an Israel-Iran war would be unpredictable and would turn into World War III as other countries were sucked into it.