Category Archives: Iran

What’s wrong with the story of Iran shooting down an Israeli stealth drone near Natanz nuclear facility

Few days ago Iran reportedly shot down an Israeli “stealth” drone near one of its nuclear enrichment facilities. But there are several weird things in Tehran authorities report of the shooting down.

On Aug. 24, several Iranian media outlets reported the news of an Israeli drone shot down near Natanz nuclear enrichment facility in central Iran.

According to FARS, the Revolutionary Guards Public (IRGC) Relations Department said that the drone was a stealth, radar-evading  model targeted by a surface-to-air missile. Then, on Aug. 25, Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Aerospace Force Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh said that “The downed spy drone is Hermes and made in Israel.”

israel drone wreck 2

Even if the news that an Israeli drone was operating inside Iranian airspace is not a big surprise, what makes IRGC claims a bit weird is the fact that Hermes drones are not stealth and their operational range is known to be much lower than the 800 kilometers claimed by Hajizadeh (who added that the unmanned aircraft is capable of flying 1,600 kilometers without refueling). And, above all, the shape of the aircraft does not resemble that of a Hermes 180 or 450.

israel drone wreck

Indeed, the drone is identical to a mysterious drone shot down in 2011 by Armenian forces in the disputed territory of Nagorno Karabakh. At that time Azerbaijan denied the unmanned aircraft belonged to Baku. Then a drone of the same type, most probably made in Israel (with inputs from both the Hermes 180 and 450) was displayed during an Armenian parade as the following image shows.

Azeri drone

Interestingly, the “Azeri” drone showcased in the parade (nose section has been highlighted to help identifying it in the images of wreckage) didn’t carry any national flag/roundel, unlike the other models operated by the Azerbaijani forces.

We don’t know anything about this somehow mysterious drone but its range is unlikely to make a round trip to Natanz possible from both Azerbaijan and northern Iraq (someone suggested this could be the launch area). Actually, the size of the drone is quite small, much smaller than a Hermes 450, meaning that it’s most probably a tactical, short-medium range UAV.

Indeed, most recent reports said that the aircraft was shot down “on the way” to Natanz. So, it seems more likely that the drone, made-in-Israel (although it’s not confirmed) and possibly launched from Azerbaijan was shot down/crashed somewhere closer to the border and then moved near Natanz.

H/T to Giuliano Ranieri and Farzam Mir for providing additional details to this report.

Image credit: Sephanews, Mashreghnews.

 

All Iranian Su-25 Frogfoot attack planes have just deployed to Iraq

Seven Su-25 Frogfoot attack planes operated by the Iranian Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution have arrived at Baghdad to join the war against ISIS militants.

On Jul. 1, seven Su-25 Frogfoot attack planes (out of 10 believed to be operational in Iran) operated by the Pasdaran (informal name of the IRGC – the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution) have completed their deployment to Imam Ali Airbase where they will join the ex-Russian Air Force Su-25s already delivered to Iraq in the air war against ISIS (Al Qaeda-linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant).

Su-25 IRGC Iraq

The aircraft (three Su-25UBK and four Su-25K jets) will be operated by four Iraqi pilots and 10 Iranian pilots.

According to ACIG.org forum member IIAF-JSF, who brought several to light, aircraft and support to fly them would be part of a military contract (backed by the U.S.) according to which Iran’s IRGC Air Force will receive six Su-30K multirole jets destined to Iraq.

Their delivery of the Iranian Su-25 has been filmed and reported by local media outlets and Iraqi MoD that has published the following video as well as the pictures you can find in this post.

Iran is believed to have joined the air war on ISIS since Jun. 21 when unidentified war planes launched heavy air strikes on the city of Baiji, north of Baghdad which had been invaded by ISIS.

 

The Pasdaran have published on Twitter how they would attack a U.S. ship in the Strait of Hormuz

The Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution have used the social network to make public their plan to attack enemy ships in the Strait of Hormuz.

The IRGC (Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps), the branch of Iran’s military whose role is to protect Tehran’s Islamic system, have published on Twitter an interesting drawing showing how they imagine an attack to an enemy warship entering the Persian Gulf.

The plan is use several different weapons systems in a coordinated attack opened by high speed boats, used to create a diversion.

According to Good Morning Iran blog, that translated the text accompanying the rendering, the plan assumes that Iranian high speed boats, equipped with missiles and mines, and disguising themselves as normal fishing boats, would carry out an initial attack against the enemy ship.

While facing the boats, the U.S. warship would be attacked by Iranian submarines, baked by IRIAF (Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force) warplanes, including some F-14 Tomcat jets with indigenous modifications (most probably providing some sort of air superiority in the vicinity), followed by ballistic missiles.

The latter could be the two types showcased during an exhibition held by the IRGC on May 11.

The new home-made ballistic missiles, an upgraded version of the solid-fuel, supersonic Iranian anti-ship missile dubbed Persian Gulf equipped with a 650-kg warhead, are dubbed Hormuz 1 and Hormuz 2.

Both missiles are believed to be more powerful than the Persian Gulf, with the Hormuz 1 being an anti-radar missile with a range of 300 kilometers.

Hormuz

Image credit: Tasnim News Agency

That said, the plan is obviously quite optimistic, as it considers a U.S. warship as an isolated unit, whereas the latter may operate within a large, powerful and very well defended Carried Strike Group, which includes an aircraft carrier, destroyers, supporting vessels and, often, a nuclear submarine, whose task is, among the others, to defend the Group from underwater attacks.

Anyway, the plan and the mock aircraft carrier being built by Iran are a sign Tehran is focusing on developing tactics to defeat the U.S. Navy in the Gulf. Not an easy task though.

Update May 23, 2014, 22.20 GMT:

A reader has found that the image posted by the Pasdaran on Twitter is an infographic posted in the past by the Wall Street Journal. IRGC replaced the English text with Farsi: therefore, even if it’s not their original work, the fact they translated and published it on Twitter means they consider it accurate and most probably coherent with their plan.

 

original

Top image credit: IRGC

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

Iran unveils reverse-engineered version of captured U.S. RQ-170 stealth drone

Tehran has just unveiled an indigenous version of the US RQ-170 Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) captured in December 2011.

During a ceremony held at Tehran on May 11, Iran unveiled an RQ-170 drone allegedly manufactured by reverse-engineering of U.S. Sentinel drone captured in December 2011. The Lockheed Martin’s Sentinel UAV was showcased next to the one that crash landed for (still unclear reasons) in northeastern Iran about three years ago.

Since the drone was recovered near the city of Kashmar, Iranian specialists had started studying the stealth UAV they captured.

In February 2013, a video proved that they had accessed some of the data stored inside the so called “Beast of Kandahar.”

After several unsubstantiated claims, the footage was the first evidence that Iran had found something interesting in the UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) and its internal hard disks.

“All the memories and computer systems of this plane have been decoded and some good news will be announced in the near future not just about the RQ-170 and the optimizations that our forces have done on the reversed engineered model of this drone, but also in area of other important defense achievements,” IRGC Lieutenant Commander General Hossein Salami said to the Fars News Agency last year.

RQ-170 Iran

It’s not clear whether the Sentinel-replica has already performed its maiden flight; nor is any eventual modification the Iranian engineers did to the original model. For sure, footage of the drone being flown in Iran would be the proof, the one displayed at Tehran today is something more than a model.

Iran has hunted/recovered two more UAV types since then: two RQ-11s and at least one ScanEagle that had penetrated the Iranian airspace from the Persian Gulf.

Anyway as images coming from China show, the RQ-170 has already been copied.

RQ-170 Iran 2

Image credit FARS News Agency

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

Iran stages “massive” aerial parade with F-14, F-4, Mig-29 and several other warplanes

The traditional military parades at mausoleum of the Late Founder of Islamic Republic, Imam Khomeini, south of capital Tehran saw the flyover of several warplanes, including the legendary F-14 Tomcat.

On Apr. 18 Iran celebrated the National Army Day with a traditional and interesting flypast of most of its active warplanes. Eight formations for an overall 27 aircraft took part in the aerial parade: not really “massive” as some Iranian media wrote, still an interesting opportunity to see the majority of the IRIAF (Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force) fighters and bombers in the air.

Mig-29

The flypast featured F-5F Tiger, F-5E Saeqeh, FT-7N, Mirage F.1EQs, F-14A Tomcat, F-4E Phantom, Mig-29UB Fulcrum and Su-24Mk Fencer divided in 8 formations.

F-14 takeoff

One of the formation was a mixed flight made of a Mig-29UB, an F-4E, an F-14A, a Mirage F.1BQ-3 and a Su-24Mk.

Su-24

As highlighted by a member of the ACIG.org forum, both Mirage F.1BQ-3s were carrying F-5E/F external fuel tanks thanks to domestically designed and manufactured underwing pylons.

Mirage F1

Obviously, no sign of the famous F-313 Qaher stealth jet.

Saeqeh

Along with the fixed wing aircraft, 26 helicopters of their Iranian Army Aviation performed their flypast which included AB-206Bs, AH-1Js, Bell 214As and CH-47Cs.

F7

Image credit: IRNA News Agency

 

Enhanced by Zemanta