The Iranian military possesses unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) that are capable of flying 1,864 miles, a senior Iranian military official said Friday, addressing professors of natural science universities in Tehran.
According to the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Brigadier General Hossein Salami, the unmanned drones can take photographs over great distances and transfer the data online. Salami also said that these UAVs, which can easily evade enemy radar systems, had been developed by the country’s local experts without foreign assistance, RIA Novosti reported.
“We could only dream about them a few years ago, but they have become reality thanks to the efforts of our university graduates,” Salami was quoted by RIA Novosti as saying. “Eventually, we were able to produce a pistonless engine for unmanned aerial vehicle without the use of U.K. or U.S. technology.”
Salami’s announcement came after the IRGC Aerospace Force announced late last month that the country had upgraded the operational range of its drones to 3,000 kilometers, or 1,864 miles.
Earlier in November, Iran's state-controlled television broadcast a video of a new stealth drone, which was reportedly reverse-engineered from a U.S. RQ-170 UAV that was captured in 2011.
The RQ-170, known as the Sentinel and developed by Lockheed Martin's Skunk Works division, accidentally entered the Iranian airspace and was reportedly downed over the city of Kashmar, around 140 miles from the border of Afghanistan, by Iran's electronic warfare unit on Dec. 4, 2011.
In November 2013, Iran unveiled the Fotros drone -- capable of carrying missiles -- with a range of up to 1242 miles. The same year, the country also announced that it would begin developing combat drones, using captured U.S. aerial vehicles as a blueprint, according to Sputnik.