Iran Adopts Flying Wing Combat Drones Based On American RQ-170 (Video)

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Iran has celebrated the 9th anniversary of the capture of a U.S. stealth RQ-170 Sentinel unnamed aerial vehicle (UAV) by sharing new information on domestic copies of the advanced aircraft.

The stealth UAV was captured by Iranian forces near the city of Kashmar in northeastern Iran on December 5 of 2011. The Iranian government announced that the UAV was brought down by its cyberwarfare unit which commandeered the aircraft and safely landed it. Nevertheless, Western sources continue to claim that the UAV fell or was shot down.

President Barack Obama acknowledged the loss of an RQ-170 when the incident first happened, asking Iran to return it. A request that was rejected by Tehran.

The RQ-170 Sentinel, which was introduced in 2007, was developed by Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works as a stealth reconnaissance UAV. The advanced UAV is being operated by the U.S. Air Force for the Central Intelligence Agency, CIA.

Iran has so far managed to produce five domestic copies of the drone:

  • The Shahed-141: a 40% scale copy of the RQ-170 powered by a piston engine with a range of 500 km. This copy is mainly used for reconnaissance, surveillance and combat.
  • The Shahed-161: a 40% scale copy of the RQ-170 powered by a jet engine with a range of 500 km. This copy is mainly used for reconnaissance, surveillance and combat.
    Iran Adopts Flying Wing Combat Drones Based On American RQ-170 (Video)

    Click to see full-size image

    Iran Adopts Flying Wing Combat Drones Based On American RQ-170 (Video)

    Click to see full-size image

  • The Shahed-171: a full scale copy of the RQ-170 powered by a turbofan engine with a range of 4,400 km and a maximum speed of 460 km/h. This copy was designed for reconnaissance and surveillance.
    Iran Adopts Flying Wing Combat Drones Based On American RQ-170 (Video)

    Click to see full-size image

    Iran Adopts Flying Wing Combat Drones Based On American RQ-170 (Video)

    Click to see full-size image

  • The Shahed-181: a 60% scale copy of RQ-170 powered by a piston engine with a range of 1,500 km. This copy is mainly used for reconnaissance, surveillance and combat.
  • The Shahed-191: The Shahed-181: a 60% scale copy of RQ-170 powered by a jet engine with a range of 1,500 km. This copy is mainly used for reconnaissance, surveillance and combat.
    Iran Adopts Flying Wing Combat Drones Based On American RQ-170 (Video)

    Click to see full-size image

    Iran Adopts Flying Wing Combat Drones Based On American RQ-170 (Video)

    Click to see full-size image

Iran used the Shahed-181 and 191 in a series of strikes against ISIS in east of the Euphrates river in Syria on October 1 of 2018. The operation, dubbed “Strike of Muharram”, was a response to the Ahvaz military parade attack the previous week.

The U.S. political, military and economic pressure on Iran has encouraged the country to focus on its domestic military capabilities. As a result, Tehran made major breakthroughs in defense technology in the past few years.

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