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News number: 8903181387

16:04 | 2010-06-08


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Commander: UAV Battalions to Be Formed in All Air Force Bases

TEHRAN (FNA)- A senior Iranian commander announced on Tuesday that the Air Force plans to form a battalion of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) in all its bases across the country.

"In every Air Force fighters base, a UAV battalion will be formed," Lieutenant Commander of Iran's Air Force Mohsen Darrebaqi told FNA, adding, "These UAV battalions have already been formed in four bases."

Noting that the UAV units of the Air Force have been operative for as long as many years, Darrebaqi pointed out that these units are currently tasked with intelligence and information gathering and reconnaissance missions.

"But in future we want to use them for assault missions so that these UAVs can hit targets," he added.

Referring to the operational range of the units, Darrebaqi said that the UAVs have different flight ranges, but the flying range of the UAVs currently owned by the Air Force starts from 150km.

Iran has recently made good progress in the air industry and has succeeded in gaining the technical know-how for producing stealth aircraft and drones.

The country in February inaugurated the production line of two home-made Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) with bombing and reconnaissance capabilities.

The two hi-tech drones named 'Ra'd' (Thunder) and 'Nazir' (Harbinger) are capable of conducting long-range reconnaissance, patrolling, assault and bombing missions with high precision.

Ra'd which is a UAV of choice for assault and bombing missions has the capability to destroy the specified targets with high pinpoint precision.

Experts believe that once the UAV enters the scene of aerial missions, it would enhance the reconnaissance, patrolling and defensive power of the Islamic Republic of Iran's Armed Force.

Iran successfully tested a home-made radar-evading UAV with bombing capabilities last June. Also in 2008, the country's Defense Industries launched production lines of two well-known home-made fighter jets, namely Saeqeh (Thunderbolt) and Azarakhsh (Lightening).

Iran had earlier started construction of a plant in the northern province of Mazandaran in 2008 to mass produce UAVs.

Hamed Saeedi, Managing Director of Farnas Aerospace Company in charge of the project, said that his company has been dealing with designing and manufacturing UAVs and reconnaissance and pilot training drones for the last 9 years.

"We plan to manufacture UAVs, including unmanned choppers and drones, at this site," he said, referring to the plant in the northern Mazandaran province.

Tehran launched an arms development program during the 1980-88 Iraqi imposed war on Iran, to compensate for a US weapons embargo. Since 1992, Iran has produced its own tanks, armored personnel carriers, missiles and fighter planes.

Yet, Iranian officials have always stressed that the country's military and arms programs serve defensive purposes and should not be perceived as a threat to any other country.