Iran has claimed to unveil a drone with a 7,000km range, according to Tasnim news, as well as other reports, calling it a challenge to the United States. It is also a clear warning to Israel. Even if the drone has not realistically achieved a long range in a real flight, Iran is sending a warning message that it can strike Israel with this weapon. Major General Hossein Salami, the head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ (IRGC) has said that the new drone has a 7,000 km range. This would mean that it could easily fly from Iran or via Yemen or Syria over Israel and back. Iran recently unveiled a drone called “Gaza” during the recent 11-day war between Hamas and Israel, its name a clear reference to the conflict. It is unclear if the 7,000km range refers to the range of the new ‘Gaza’ drone or another model. IRGC aerospace division commander Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh is one of the key figures behind the drone and missile program.
According to Tasnim news, the “IRGC Commander-in-Chief, who was enumerating the country’s achievements in the field of technology and science, also avoided the field of aerospace, said that today we have wide-body drones that go back and forth 7,000 kilometers and land anywhere they want.” The report noted that the new “Gaza” drone is called the Shahed 149 and is larger than the Shahed 129. In January, reports at Newsweek claimed Iran may have sent a drone to Yemen that could threaten Israel. In May, Iran was behind the launch of a drone from Iraq or Syria into Israeli airspace. Israel shot it down.
According to Salami, the new Shahed 149 can carry 13 bombs. “Until now, the Shahed 171 drone, which was a one-to-one scale [copy] of the American RQ-170 had a range of 4,400 km, and was the longest-range drone in Iran,” Tasnim noted. Iran downed the US RQ-170, a secretive spy drone, back in 2011. It claimed to have reverse engineered it.
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