Tag Archives: Tehran

Iran has flown its version of the captured U.S. stealthy RQ-170 drone modified to bomb US Navy warships

Although footage has yet to be released, Tehran claims a domestically modified RQ-170 Sentinel has already made its maiden flight.

Update Nov. 12, 2014: a video has been released. Click here.

On May 11, Iran unveiled a copy of the Lockheed Martin RQ-170 Sentinel UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) drone allegedly manufactured by reverse-engineering of U.S. Sentinel drone captured in December 2011. The Iranian version of the Sentinel drone was displayed next to the one that crash landed in northeastern Iran about three years ago for reasons that are still unknown.

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 managed to retrieve something from the once secret drone’s 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.

On Nov. 10, Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Aerospace Force, Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, told the press that the Iranian version of the RQ-170 drone, modified to carry out both bombing and reconnaissance missions, has already had its maiden flight.

“The footage of its flight will be released soon,” Hajizadeh told reporters according to FARS News.

Whereas the first prototype was a smaller copy of the Sentinel (60% the size of the original RQ-170) which flew about four months ago, the final model is a full-scale, reverse-engineered stealthy drone, equipped with special parts required to carry bombs. Weapons to be used “against the US warships in any possible showdown between the two countries.

According to the Iranians the American drone was brought down by the Iranian Armed Forces’ electronic warfare unit which hacked into the RQ-170 remote control systems and ordered the aircraft to land in the eastern part of the country.

Even though such claims are still debated, especially in the light of other alleged achievements by Tehran (as the infamous F-313 Qaher stealth fighter jet), Iran has really showcased some almost intact UAV types in the recent past: two RQ-11s and at least one ScanEagle that had penetrated the Iranian airspace from the Persian Gulf.

Anyway, while there are chances that the engine, circuitry, lenses, memories and sensors that survived the crash landing of the CIA-operated RQ-170 might have been evaluated, tested, copied and, possibly, improved with the help of Russia and China, it’s hard to believe such hardware and remaining data have allowed Iran to move as much as 35 years ahead in building drones or their components.  Especially if we consider that, unlike the X-47B and some black UAV projects like the RQ-180, the RQ-170 is no longer the American cutting edge robot tech.

Image credit: Tasmin News


Iran unveiled its new strategic UAV. The biggest domestic drone to date.

At a ceremony held in Tehran and attented by Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan, Iran has unveiled a new stratetic UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) dubbed “Fotros”.

The new drone, is “the biggest unmanned strategic plane in the country that enjoys special capabilities,” according to FARS News Agency.


Built by Defense Ministry’s Air Industries “Fotros”, that has an endurance of 30 hours and can fly for more than 2,000km non-stop, has a nose section extremely similar to the one of the General Atomics Predator and a twin tail boom typical of the made-in-Iran Mohajer drones family.

Noteworthy, the drone showcased in Iran carried air-to-surface missiles with yellow labels (usually meaning with live warheads).

Image credit: Mod.ir

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Video showing Iran’s new “stealth combat drone” emerges

If not stealthy, at least it is capable to fly.

The following video proves the “Hamaseh”, the “reconnaissance and combat drone” displayed on May 9 during a ceremony attended by Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi, has already conducted flying testing.

Although it can fly, something that was never doubted, and painted in a less fashionable manner, it remains unstealthy.

Iran drone 4

Image credit: FARS News Agency

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Iran unveils new “indigenous stealth reconnaissance, combat drone” that will never evade radars

Here we go with another Iranian indigenous project.

After unveiling the Qaher 313 stealth fighter jet last February, a mock-up plane that will never fly in spite of Tehran’s claims, Iran has just rolled out its latest UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle).

Iran drone 1

Dubbed “Hamaseh”, the “reconnaissance and combat drone” displayed on May 9 during a ceremony attended by Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi, “has been built by defense industry experts and is simultaneously capable of surveillance, reconnaissance and missile and rocket attacks.”

The drone, a HALE (High Altitude Long Endurance) type, “can avoid detection by the enemy” thanks to its stealth features, according to Vahidi.

Iran drone 2

Although, unlike the Qaher 313, the Hamaseh drone is probably capable to fly because its shape is aerodynamically plausible, it simply can’t be stealth: the unretractable landing gear, the weapons hanging from the wings, the glaring paint job and the unsheltered wooden push propeller make the UAV very well visible to radars.

Iran drone 3

Image credit: FARS News Agency

Another aircraft, another joke by Tehran that, in the last years has produced some real UAVs, like those sold to Assad to spy on the rebels in Syria or the indigenous Karrar and Shahed 129 projects.

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The Flying Rooster proves even weird planes (except Iran’s new stealth fighter jet) can fly

On Feb. 2, Iran unveiled a new stealth plane dubbed Qaher 313 or F-313.

Even if its shape is quite peculiar and its design shows inputs from past and current radar-evading projects (including the X-32, the X-36, the Boeing Bird of Prey, the F-22 and the F-35 Lightning II), the indigenous plane showcased during the Ten-Day Dawn ceremonies held in Tehran features a number of oddities that clearly prove the F-313 can’t fly.

Actually, as a reader of The Aviationist pointed out in a comment left to a previous article on the Qaher prototype, according to Webster’s dictionary, one of the many definitions of the word “fly” is “to move in or pass through the air with wings”.

Therefore, using that definition very loosely, if you lifted the F-313 mock up with a crane and drop it, technically it would “fly”.

Someone believes the new Iranian plane can’t take to the air just because it has an weird shape with tiny wings unable to generate the required lift and air intakes located where they can only get turbulent air at certain angles-of-attack.

Shape aside, the Qaher on display at Tehran last week will never fly for several more reasons, despite the (photoshopped) images appearing on Iranian media allegedly showing it flying somewhere above the clouds (see below).

Qaher 313

Anyway, it is interesting to notice that not always unlikely appearances imply inability to fly.

This is what the Italian Flying Rooster aircraft seems to prove. Designed by Italian aircraft designer and builder Ottone Baggio, the “Aerogallo” made its first flight on Dec. 26, 2011. Since then, the Rooster plane, in the hands of test pilot Daniele Beltrame, has become one of the highlights of last airshow season in Italy.

Aerogallo 5

Image credit: Daniele Beltrame

The aircraft features a Rooster head and neck jutting out of the high wing’s leading edge which house the engine, wooden wings, steel tube fuselage covered in fabric, and a proper paint job.


Image credit: Daniele Beltrame

The control systems is as weird as the aircraft itself: the control sticks comes down from the cockpit’s roof and is counter-instictive – you have to pull it back to dive and to push it forward to climb. Hard to believe, still, working, as the above images prove.

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