Until Jun. 12, when a new video showed a seemingly intact “Pahpad” in the hands of the rebels.
The new video provides close-up images of the mysterious drone: the engine, the wings, some numbers (as aircraft’s individual codes), as well as a turret, most probably the one of the FLIR (Forward Looking Infra Red) camera.
“Pahpad” (پهپاد) is not actually the official name of the UAV but the short form of “parandeye hedayat pazire az rahe door” (“پرنده هدایت پذیر از راه دور”) that is the Persian for “remotely piloted aircraft”.
Still, the drone recovered from the sea seems to lack the typical tail boom that in the “Pahpad” (image below) is connected to the vertical stabilizers in the middle of the fins.
Furthermore, after capturing an RQ-170 and some ScanEagle drones, the fact that Tehran has not claimed any new downing of enemy UAVs could be the sign that the one depicted in the above image is a domestic “Pahpad”.
Rather than the name of the drone, Pahpad (پهپاد) is actually the short form of “parandeye hedayat pazire az rahe door” (“پرنده هدایت پذیر از راه دور”), the Farsi for “remotely piloted aircraft”.
One of the most interesting things of the Syrian uprising, from the military analyst perspective, is the use of drones by the Syrian regime.
Syria had its drone fleet when the uprising started. According to some sources they are manufactured domestically, at the Syria’s Scientific Research Center, even if, according to the images surfaced so far, all of them are a copy of those produced by Iran.
Among the types believed to be operated by Bashar al-Assad forces: the Mohajer 4, the Ababil, (most probably) the Mirsad-1 that Hezbollah terror group has used to violate the Israeli airspace in the past, and, the only one filmed over Homs that could be clearly identified as the “Pahpad” (that is not the actual name of the robot but the short form in Persian for “remotely piloted aircraft”).
There’s another interesting drone that was spotted recently and still has to be identified. It is particularly interesting because it does not look like any of the above mentioned drones (even if a correct identification is impossible because of the extremely low quality of the footage). At first glance, its shape, color etc, recalls those of Israeli or U.S. drones. However, it is quite unlikely that it was not Syrian considered the amount of air defense and anti-aircraft systems believed to be active in Syria: U.S Joint Chief Dempsey recently said that Syrian air defense is 5 times more sophisticated than Libya, 10 times more than in former Jugoslavia (1999) and covers one fifth of the terrain.
Depending on the payload they are carrying they can could be eavesdropping into “enemy” communications or helping ground forces to pinpoint rebels by locating the oppositors’ firing positions and directing the shelling accordingly. Noteworthy, such furing support flights do not take place at night suggesting that the loyalist robots can only carry a color/monochrome daylight TV camera.
Rebels have affirmed that they were able to shot down and recover some of these Syria’s made-in-Iran drones. However, even if the shape of the recovered drone recall that of the “Pahpad” or “Mohajer 4”, based on the below video, the downed robot seem to be much smaller that the typical UAVs (whose wingspan exceeds 5 mt).
Here below you can find a screen dump, published by Ynet of another drone recovered by rebels.
The one barely visible in the following video is a drone flying over Homs, Syria.
Although, at first glance, its color, shape, etc. reminded me those of the U.S. Global Hawk, believed to be operating over Syria, its sound is the one of a propeller-driven engine. Unless some Israeli Herons, or U.S. Predators or Reapers are already operating well inside the Syrian airspace, this could be another (unidentified) drone belonging to the Assad forces.
Footage in this case is extremely low on quality and, unlike the “Pahpad” spying on the clashes, identification in this case is almost impossible. It could be another “Pahpad” or a “Mohajer 4” even if it seems to be white/light grey in color, sensibly bigger and it is flying higher (although this could be a distortion of the camera) than the ‘bots spotted so far.
Even if what was flying in the smoke in a previous video still remains a mystery (I suggest you reading all the comments to the post to find some interesting theories) someone has explained that smoke is intentionally created to prevent UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) from targeting activities on the ground.
Thanks to Bjørn Holst Jespersen for the heads-up.
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