14:24 GMT05 March 2021
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    Starting off with virtually no domestic defence industry after the Revolution of 1979, Iran has since become a major producer of an array of homegrown weapons systems, from missiles and tanks to aircraft and warships.

    Iran’s military took delivery of three types of domestically-developed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), with the equipment to be used by the Air Force and Air Defence units, Defence Minister Brig. Gen. Amir Hatami announced on Saturday.

    “As the drones have been equipped with various types of bombs and missiles, they can be utilized by the forces in combat missions,” Hatami said, his remarks cited by Tasnim.

    Additionally, the defence minister noted, the UAVs can be used as decoy targets in air defence, and for deception operations inside an adversary’s air defence network.

    “These drones will help ensure a safer Iran and perform air defence operations with more power,” Hatami stressed, adding that they were built by domestic defence industries on the basis of designs created at the nation’s universities and knowledge-based companies.

    The drones, said to include the Karrar (‘Striker), Ababil-3 (‘Swallow-3’) and an unnamed ‘multipurpose jet-engine-powered’ drone, have operational ranges of up to 1,000 km, flight ceilings of 40,000-45,000 feet, and a flight duration of between three and eight hours.

    Fars News Agency published a mashup video showing off Iran’s drone capabilities.

    Tweet text reads: "This morning, in the presence of the Defence Minister, three types of reconnaissance and combat UAVs were handed over to the Air Force and Army Air Defence, including a drone with a 1,000 km range."

    Iran’s military-industrial complex produces a broad array of military equipment, with the country’s defence sector organized in the 1980s after US and European sanctions cut the Islamic Republic off from its traditional partners. These restrictions were then exacerbated by UN Security Council sanctions connected to the country’s alleged nuclear weapons programme. Although it devotes considerably fewer resources to defence than its US or regional adversaries, Iran has already proven the value of its equipment on several occasions, including last June, when its Khordad-3 air defence system managed to shoot down a stealthy $220 million US spy drone over the Strait of Hormuz.

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