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. A drone is nothing special. I am 19 years old, and I have drones that are capable of carrying 2 to 5 lbs of payload and fly more than 1 hour and 30 miles away. And these only cost me $1,000 and are simply just small, foam, radio controlled airplanes with cameras. Given the money, i could easily build one that could fly and carry 5 times more.

    • Is the communication from the control station to the UAV secure?

      On a second note Drones or UAV’s always make me think of an unmanned craft with a level of autonomy.

  2. “Raad 85 suicide drone”?

    Suicide drone? LOL. They’ve had those since the Iran-Iraq war, when the brainwashed Basij marched in human waves to clear minefields.

    • For sure they had those drones from the end of Iran-Iraq war and this new drones are modified ones . one big thing that you are always missing and your empty head can’t understand is the fact that those so called human waves were real hero’s of Iran who had dignity and were ready to give their life for their country and didn’t allow the western backed Saddam regime to occupy even 1 meter of their country .

    • another point that you are not understanding is that first US defeat by Iran was in Iran-Iraq war which USA and other western countries did all to change the regime in Iran but failed so far . Iran’s victory over US continued after Afghanistan and Iraq war in which fooled coalition army removed Iran’s enemies in this two countries and after that Iran’s Quds force made the coalition forces to stuck in those countries and see their soldiers dead bodies returning home day by day . this victories continued in 2006 when Hezbollah defeated Israel . and the last battle in Syria is going in favor of Iran up to this moment.

    • brainwashed?
      you have no idea about it
      they died for their belief
      for their beloved Iran

      we have a word غیرت
      that you do not know its meaning
      and youll never feel it

  3. The Aviationist sounds somewhat biased like FOX News. Iran had UCAVS that WORKED as far back as the Iran/Iraq war in the 80s called the “Mohajer”. It carried 6 RPGs under the wings. I bet a number of Iraqi veterans can tell the stories of seeing their comrades blown to pieces from those attacks. I would take The Aviationist with a grain of salt if I were you all.

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