Iran unveils killer drone that may really work

After displaying a stealth fighter that was a sort of joke, obsolete missiles as they were new, fake or unrealistic UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles), Tehran may  have finally unveiled something real.

In a ceremony held on Sept. 27, Iran unveiled a modified version of  the “Shahed 129″, capable to carry weapons. In other words the domestic drone (based on the Israeli Hermes 450 model or the Watchkeeper 450 model, but larger than those types), has eventually become a real UCAV (Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle) capable to carry missiles.

shahed side

According to the claims of the IRGC AF Commander, the drone can carry 8 bombs/missiles, it has an endurance of 24 hours with a range of 1,700 km and a ceiling of 24,000 feet, and it can monitor an area of 200 km around it with its onboard sensors.

Iranian TV has aired footage of the drone flying and firing missiles as well as images allegedly recorded from the IR sensors of the Shaded 129.

Shahed-129 front

Furthermore, the two models showcased so far seem to be of different versions: one features a retractable landing gear while the other has a fixed one.

Shahed-129 runway

Even if accuracy of the sensors and weapons can’t be judged from photos, what can be said is that, unlike many other project, the Shahed 129 seems at first glance to be a “tangible” platform. In other words drones seen in the first images don’t seem to be toys (still they might be so).

Image credit: IRINN, FARS

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About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.


  1. ”In other words drones seen in the first images don’t seem to be toys (still they might be so)”
    You are very cynical and also AIM-54 is a very potent missile.

    • This is a US propaganda media, not a fair professional military news. So you can’t expect they express your achievements in the way they show their own achievements. You guys are their enemy so they have to degrade your capabilities. Btw I think it is the same in your country. They have unfair propaganda media similar to The Aviationist ;-)

      • This is not propaganda. It’s legitimate observations made by people who actually know what they’re talking about.

        All this Iranian junk is hyped up for internal consumption by people who have no idea what they’re looking at. Iran claimed they built their own S-300 system – and trotted out a truck with a bunch of oil drums welded together. LMAO

        • unveiling of S-300 was not even covered by Iranian media you professor .
          at that time and even now , they have not claimed to build such system but saying that researched are underway to build such system . the fact is that Iran has got 4 S-300 systems from some unknown sources which has been also confirmed by western intelligent reports and those so called oil drums were real systems which Iran was able to get from Belarus and another source . purchasing of this systems have prevented Israeli strikes against Iran’s nuclear facilities and the only thing that Israel is able to do now is barking . the reason that no one have confirmed sales of this systems to Iran is the embargo which has been imposed on Iran and can punish any supplier who sales arms to Iran.

          • To quote you, “the only thing that Israel is able to do now is barking”. Please keep thinking that. Oh, you may also want to practise leaning over to kiss your rear end goodbye.

    • Hi Anita,

      last year they didn’t show the drone carrying arms and flying. That’s why it is different.

  2. With all the respect to Iran’s great engenering capability (If you consider their isolation) there is no way this drone will be effective in a highly contested airspace as the Persian Gulf or Israel and most of the Middle East. Anything beside something highly stealth would be shot down in a moment.

    • it will not be used in persian gulf its duty is monitoring and defending of iran’s border against insurgents and smugglers

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