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Iran unveils an armed drone similar to the US MQ-9 Reaper and says it could potentially reach Israel

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran’s defense ministry on Tuesday unveiled a drone resembling the weaponized U.S. MQ-9 Reaper, claiming the plane can stay aloft for 24 hours and has the range to attack the country’s nemesis, Iran. to reach Israel.

Iran’s state news agency IRNA published a photo of the drone, dubbed the Mohajer-10, seen at a conference marking Defense Industry Day with what appeared to be smoke machine fog beneath it.

“Mohajer” means “immigrant” in Farsi and is a drone line produced by the Islamic Republic since 1985.

IRNA said the drone can fly up to 24,000 feet at a speed of 210 km/h (130 mph), with a bomb load of up to 300 kilograms (660 pounds). It also said the drone could carry electronic surveillance equipment and a camera. The hardline of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, a protege of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, also viewed the drone on Tuesday.

“Today we can firmly introduce Iran as an advanced and technological nation to the world,” Raisi said in comments on state television.

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He reiterated Iran’s position on friendly relations with “all countries in the world,” adding that Iranian forces will cut off any hand that tries to invade Iran, state television reported.

The Associated Press was unable to immediately verify the claims about the drone’s capabilities, although an arm of state television shared video of it taking off from a runway. Long-range drones like the Reaper also need ground stations and satellite communications.

Officials in Israel, which operates its own high-endurance long-range drones, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.

Iran has captured US drones or parts of them in the past, but there is no evidence it has captured a General Atomics’ Reaper, flown by the US Air Force and allied US countries as a “hunter-killer” drone that can operate long hours at high altitude and track a target before attacking. North Korea in July showed drones that mirror the Reaper, possibly designed based on publicly available information about the aircraft.

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In December 2011, Iran seized an RQ-170 Sentinel flown by the CIA to monitor Iranian nuclear sites after it entered Iranian airspace from neighboring Afghanistan. Iran later reverse engineered the drone to create their own variants.

In 2019, Iran shot down a US Navy RQ-4A Global Hawk in the Strait of Hormuz amid high tensions over the failed nuclear deal with world powers.

The Reaper also has special significance to Iran, as one allegedly carried out the 2020 attack in Baghdad that killed Qassem Soleimani, a top Iranian general in its paramilitary Revolutionary Guards.

Iran separately said it supplied two types of ballistic missiles to its military and the Guards on Tuesday, including one named after Soleimani.

Iran has unveiled a range of drones in recent years that it says are capable of long-duration flights. It remains unclear how they were used in combat.

But other Iranian drones have been a key element in Russia’s ongoing war against Ukraine. Tehran has issued a series of conflicting statements about the drones, first denying they supplied them to Moscow and then claiming they were only selling drones before the war started. However, the number of drones used in the conflict shows Iran’s steady supply of bomb-laden weapons into the war.

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In June, the White House said Iran is supplying Russia with materials to build a drone factory east of Moscow while the Kremlin tries to secure a steady supply of weapons.


Gambrell reported from Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

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