Iran has conducted a new test showing off its new drones, which it reports has a range of more than 6,200 miles, theoretically giving it a range to hit Israel.
Iran’s Defense Minister Brig.-Gen. Amir Hatami put the drones, the Ababil-3 and Karar drones, on full display on Saturday in a demonstration, which the nation says its military now has in abundance, the Jerusalem Post reported. He said that one jet-powered UAV could fly with speed up to 900 km per hour, or 559.2 miles per hour, at altitudes of up to nearly 40,000 feet in the air.
Additionally, some of the drones have ranges of more than 930 miles, which means they could reach Israel or other Iranian enemies including ISIS. According to the Post, these would place Iran’s drones on par with the capabilities of some of the drones the United States has in its arsenal.
The Ababil-3 is a redesign of a previous Iranian drone with twin tails and is likely also based on a South African design. It is supposed to be a medium-range reconnaissance drone using an electro-optical add-on that enables it to collect footage. However, Iran says the Ababil-3 has “combat” potential and can carry other payloads as well. Iran reportedly used the drone to film its missile attacks on Kurdish forces in September 2018.
The Karar is designed to be a “strategic” drone with cruise missile-like capabilities, Iran says. Additionally, Iran has given this technology to Houthi rebels in Yemen, who in turn used them against Saudi Arabia in a number of attacks.
Tensions between Iran and Israel recently were raised even higher than usual. Israeli forces were on alert in fear of a retaliatory attack for the airstrikes Israel conducted against Iranian forces and proxies in the region in November.
Air defense has become more complicated as technology advances, Israeli Air Force chief Amikam Norkin said in November.
“The challenge of air defense has become more complicated. Joining the threat of missiles and rockets are now attack drones and cruise missiles,” he said.
Additionally, Israeli leaders claimed in September that they discovered a secret nuclear weapons site that Iran built. The sites, Israeli officials say, were “destroyed the site when they realized we discovered it.”
Israeli embassy spokesman Elad Strohmayer wrote in a series of tweets that “Israel has exposed another Iranian violation of their international commitments: the Abadeh Nuclear Weapons Development Site.”
“We have proof that #Iran conducted experiments to develop nuclear weapons there,” he added.
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei ordered the construction of state-of-the-art weaponry in October for the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC).
“Today, the IRGC is dignified both inside and outside the country, thanks be to god. The enemies have contributed to creating this dignity,” Khamenei said. “With violent, aggressive, and hostile behavior, the Americans increased the dignity of the IRGC. The enemies of god show hostility to God’s servants, and this hostility makes God’s servants more reputable and estimable.”
“You must have all necessary defense, operational and intelligence equipment. However, these instruments must be manufactured and developed at home and meet all the needs of the country on the ground, in the sky and space as well as at sea and borders. Even the cyberspace is among the necessary instruments,” he also said.