Iran’s blog, The Iran Project, is reporting on the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps [IRGC] “newly-designed model of its longest-range drone, Shahed (Eye Witness) 129, during the annual February 11 rallies on the occasion of the 37th anniversary of the victory of the Islamic Revolution in Iran” (it was a Shahed 129 drone that flew over a U.S. aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf last month).
The IRGC’s static display of the Shahed 129 was in an armed configuration “carrying four guided missiles loaded on two twin-launchers, carried underwing. The [Iran] State TV said the drone can carry up to eight weapons, designed to hit stationary and mobile targets alike.”
In 2012, Iran introduced its Shahed 129 drone to the world and began mass production of the drone that same year. The specifications of the Shahed 129 drone are as follows: can fly as far as 2000km with an effective operational radius of approximately 1700km in order to carry out combat-related missions, 200km datalink range, and can be flown for 24 hours max with max altitude at 24,000 feet. The Shahed 129 is currently involved in combat operations in Syria in the fight against terrorism.
“According to IRGC Commander Brigadier General Mohammad Ali Jafari, Iran is currently marketing the Shahed 129 UCAV for export to potential international customers.” Now that Iran has had their sanctions lifted, they are set to emerge on the global market on many fronts, including their drone program. Given Iran’s ties to Hamas, Hezbollah, Palestine Islamic Jihad, and its many proxy wars, it’s only a matter of time before the Shahed 129 will be employed by the aforementioned if not done so already.
It doesn’t go unnoticed that the IRGC chose the 37th anniversary of Iran’s Islamic Revolution of 1979 to show it’s Shahed 129 drone in an armed configuration; it was a violent show of force by Ayatollah Khomeini and his followers that overthrew the Iranian government resulting in him being the new leader of Iran.
How big of a threat will this drone be (or not) for the U.S. and her allies? Sound off in the comments below!