Iran unveils short-range reconnaissance drone

AFP , Saturday 28 Sep 2013

Iranian military unveiled a highly mobile propellant-powered reconnaissance drone, which can fly for eight hours with a range of 200 kilometres

Iran's army unveiled a highly mobile propellant-powered reconnaissance drone on Saturday, according to local media.

The drone, named "Yasseer," can fly for eight hours with a range of 200 kilometres (124 miles) and reach an altitude of 4,500 meters (15,000 feet), the reports said.

It resembles the American ScanEagle, an unmanned short-range aerial surveillance vehicle that Iran claimed to have captured in late 2012. However, Iranian officials did not mention the US drone on Saturday.

"Yasseer is capable of identifying targets... with its very powerful camera, and reporting them back to base," the chief of army ground forces General Ahmad Reza Pourdastan was quoted as saying at the unveiling ceremony.

According to photos provided to Iranian media, the drone is launched from a wedge catapult, enhancing its mobility. The reports did not provide further details.

Pourdastan also spoke of another newly produced kamikaze drone -- called Ra'ad 85 -- which he said was capable of identifying targets and attacking them.

He did not provide further details about the drone, and no pictures were released to the media.

Iran in recent years has boasted of capturing US drones it says have penetrated its airspace, vowing to reverse engineer them to make them its own.

In December 2011 Iran claimed to have captured a large and sophisticated CIA stealth drone, a bat-winged RQ-170 Sentinel. Tehran rejected a US request for its return.

On Friday, Iran put into service a long-range drone called Shahed 129, with a range of 1,700 kilometres (or 1,050 miles). The drone is capable of flying for up to 24 hours and carrying eight missiles.

The Shahed 129 was unveiled in September 2012.

Iran says it operates a large drone production programme, which is a source of concern for regional arch-foe Israel and Western nations at odds with Tehran over its nuclear ambitions.

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