Military Knowledge: “Shahed 129” Reconnaissance Combat Drone
Shahed 129 is an advanced Iranian single-engine medium-altitude long-endurance unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) which was officially unveiled in 2013 by IRGC.
According to Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari, former commander-in-chief of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Shahed 129 performs reconnaissance and combat operations with a 24hr endurance and combat range of 1,700 km.
The control and guidance of this drone is done by fixed or mobile ground control station. Using a mobile control station that can be installed on a trailer or truck increases the useful and effective range of Shahed 129. Also, a version of this drone is equipped with a satellite guidance system.
Shahed 129 UCAV can use a wide range of bombs and missiles that are optimized for use in UAVs, however, Sadid bombs and missiles are mainly used for the Shahed 129. Sadid is the name of a family of Iranian guided bombs and missiles, designed and produced by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Aerospace Force. So far, various types of Sadid bombs and missiles have been developed by the IRGC.
Shahed-129 drone can carry eight bombs or four missiles. By installing Sadid guided bombs and missiles on this drone, the Shahed 129 drone can hit the desired targets in its operational area with the highest possible accuracy.
This UCAV is powered by a Rotax914 turboprop engine and has a flight ceiling of up to 7300 meters.
The Shahed-129 drone has been widely used by Iran and its allies in the battles of Syria and Iraq against Al-Qaeda and ISIS terrorists, and has a very brilliant but little-known operational history. Shahed 129 drones have so far carried out more than 1000 successful operations in Iraq and Syria.
In February 2016, a new version of Shahed 129 was showcased, which was different from the previous Shahed129 drones. In this variant, there is an arc shape in the nose of the UAV, which is usually used in other drones as a place for the satellite antenna. Therefore, based on the information provided by General Hajizadeh, the commander of IRGC Aerospace Force, it can be said that this drone is equipped with a satellite guidance system, and this potentially increases the range and operational capabilities of the Shahed-129 drone.
Of course, at the time of the unveiling of this new type, Iran did not have a special military satellite to use this capability and exclusively guide Shahed 129 by a satellite. But it seems that this capability has been designed and implemented with foresight and forecasting the developments of the aerospace industry of the Iranian Armed Forces for the near future. Also, this capability allows Iran’s allies to benefit from its satellite guidance capabilities if this special variant is purchased and used.
It is also worth mentioning that in December 2019, the first marine variant of this drone, known as the Simorgh drone, was handed over to the Islamic Republic of Iran’s naval forces. This drone has been specially built and optimized for use in the Iranian Navy units.
Shahed 129 drone specifications:
– Combat range: 1,700 km
– Endurance: 24 hour
– Ceiling: 7,300 m (24,000 ft)
– Speed: 150 to 200 km
– Length: 8 m, Wingspan: 16 m
– Armament: 8 bombs or 4 missiles
– Weapon payload: Up to 400 kg
– Mission: Combat / Intelligence / Surveillance / Reconnaissance (CISR)
– Manufacturer: Iran Aviation Industries Organization (IAIO), Iran Aircraft Manufacturing Industrial Company (HESA)
Shahed-129 posters in English, Arabic (شاهد 129), Russian (Шахед 129), Azeri (Şahid 129), Kurdish (شاهێد 129), Hebrew (שאהד 129) and Chinese (沙赫德 129) for publication on social media: