Iran’s IRGC Unveils Upgraded Version Of Shahed-149 Combat Drone (Images)
On July 22, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) unveiled an upgraded version of the Shahid-149 combat drone.
The Shahed-149, which was developed by the Shahed Aviation Industries, is a high-altitude long-endurance combat drone similar in size, shape and role to the American MQ-9 Reaper. The drone was first unveiled and named after the Gaza Strip in honor of the Palestinians’ struggle against Israel amid the May 2021 Palestinian-Israeli crisis.
The upgraded version of the drone, which was unveiled at Martyr Karimi Air Base in the central city of Kashan, is equipped with an improved landing gear system and new hardpoints.
The Shahed-149 has a flight duration of 35 hours, an operational range of 2,000 kilometers and a cruising speed of 350 kilometers per hour. The combat drone is capable of carrying 13 bombs and 500 kg of electronic equipment. It is the first Iranian UAV powered by a turboprop engine.
The long endurance and range of the Shahed-149 should allow it to operate all the way from western Iran to Israel. The drone can also operate over the entire Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman from Iran’s southern region.
Despite facing sabotage attempts by Israel as well as strict sanctions by the United States and the European Union, Iran managed to expand its drone program in the last few years. Today, the country is one of the world leaders in drone technology.