Iran has unveiled a new domestically built, jet-powered unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), or drone, named “Kian” that officials say can hit targets with pinpoint accuracy beyond the country’s borders.
“The unmanned vehicle can hit targets way beyond the country’s borders and can start its defensive mission on enemies' soil,” the commander of Iran’s air defense force, Brigadier General Alireza Sabahifard, said at a ceremony on Sunday, according to Mehr news agency.
Sabahifard noted that the military UAV comes in two types: One has high-speed capabilities that allows for tracking and identifying targets, while second type is capable of long-haul flights that can conduct precision-strike operations. The drone can carry different sized munitions and climb to an altitude of 5,000 meters (15,000 feet), reaching a maximum speed of 480 kilometers per hour (300 mph). According to Iran’s Fararu website the UAV can fly more than 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) and find its target with precision.
Sabahifard said the drone was designed, produced, tested and operationalized in one year by young experts working for the drone unit within Iran’s Air Defense Force.
The new UAV comes after other achievements in Iran’s air defense systems were announced last week, namely the Bavar-373 missile system and Falagh radar, and rising tensions between Iran, and the United States and the United Kingdom.
On June 20, Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) reportedly shot down an advanced U.S.-made RQ-4 Global Hawk over what Tehran maintains were its territorial waters, off the coastal province of Hormozgan. The UAV was brought down by Iran’s domestically produced Khordad 3 air defense system after what Tehran maintains was a breach of Iranian airspace on a spying mission.
Meanwhile, the U.K. is considering sending drones to the Persian Gulf as its crisis with Iran continues. Drones may help with overhead surveillance, as British warships continue to provide escort for British-flagged tankers that travel through the Strait of Hormuz where Iran has a considerable naval presence. The U.K.’s Royal Air Force has several Reaper drones based in Kuwait, tasked with flying over Iraq and Syria. These assets could be re-directed if the decision is taken to deploy drones.
Since the seizure of a British-flagged oil tanker by Iran on July 19, the U.K. has sent more warships to the region to protect shipping, and has joined the U.S. call for an international coalition to keep vital waterways safe.
Iran’s seizure of the U.K.-flagged tanker was reportedly in retaliation for the detention of an Iranian vessel in Gibraltar earlier in July. Since then, the Iranian ship has been freed, but the British-flagged vessel is still being kept at an Iranian port.