The history of employing UAVs ( Unmanned Aerial Vehicle )in Iran returns to before revolution . After buying new aircrafts for Air force , especially F-14s , Iranian Air Force commanders decided to buy several AQM-37 UAVs from Italy in order to test the capability of these UAVs and their missiles especially new phoenix missiles . In those days most of the tests were successful .
But the history of employing spy drones in Iran returns to after the Islamic revolution and during Iran-Iraq war . During the 8 year imposed war , iranian forces simply used remote control toy planes and a simple video camera to spy , and they could obtain useful information by using such initial UAVs .
In the years 1983 and 1984 that certain conditions of the war was dominated , after studying about building the UAVs and knowing the application and capacity of them according to the equipments inside country and the different fields of application in warfare , extensive activities for designing and manufacturing this type of aircraft took place in defense ministry , a few top Iranian universities and Islamic Revolutionary Guards' industries .The result of these attempts was producing several types of air crafts that some of them were extensively used in war . Mentioned activities are still continued to improve and operate the systems in Iran .
Nowadays, Qods Aviation Industries and Iranian aircraft company (HESA) are among the most important centers that work on designing and manufacturing different types of UAVs with different missions such as surveillance , reconnaissance and flying targets .
Due to escalation of Iraq war against Iran and the basic need of reconnaissance of enemy positions , Qods Aviation Industries was formed in 1985 ( by Ministry of Islamic Revolution Iranian Revolutionary Guards ) to manufacture UAVs . They Succeeded to produce 4 aircrafts in that year which were used for spying the enemy positions in Shalamcheh . that was an important event in 8 year war .
employing the UAVs was considered . by using small models of unmanned aircrafts , useful pictures were taken from the depth of 3 kilometers in the enemy soil which were utilized . with the implementation of the mission the command of forming Raad unit was issued . This unit ( Raad ) could do various missions like reconnaissance and taking pictures in a short period which was valuable in military information .
Recovering Mohajer Drone during Iran-Iraq war ( you can see the rockets' place in left picture )
Later the same year 1985 , After installing the UAV launch pads in fast boats , Iranian UAV activity was started in Hawr Al Azim .
According to the importance of the region and due to Badr and Khaibar operations and obtaining valuable information of enemy fortifications with UAVs , The role and value of them in operations was totally lightened for military officials . Since then various missions were ordered to Raad unit before and after every operation . The most important ones were amazing valfajr 8 and Karbala 5 operations .
The number of missions done by these UAVs during war was 619 cases , The vastness of identified area was 18570 km2 and the number of pictures taken by them before accepting the UN 598 resolution was 53772 .
In fact , according to the speed of deployment of these devices , recovering in the region close to the front line and rapid preparation Photos and quick delivery to the commanders to make immediate decisions , most of the reconnaissance operations were given to UAVs that helped the manned reconnaissance aircrafts to focus on deep missions in enemy territory .
In next posts , I'll try to introduce the UAVs that have been designed and manufactured by Qods Aviation Industries .
Talash 1 is a training UAV that was designed and manufactured to be used for training UAV operators in Iran .
Talash 1 is guided and controlled by PCM radio control . This plane has the ability of performing various flight maneuvers .
Other important features of this planes are lack of complexity of the parts ,small size , easy assembly , stable and simple operation and Low price . Takeoff and landing of this plane is performed by the wheels .
After the success of Talash 1 planes , Qods Aviation Industries started the mass production of Talash 2 ( Hadaf 3000 ) that was faster and more maneuverable than Talash 1 . The plane can perform flight maneuvers very well . Talash 2 is usually recovered by parachute and in emergency situations can land on the runways by operators . Another application of this UAV is training the air defense system's operators .
Mohajer ( Persian : مهاجر‎, "Migrant" ) or Mersad series of unmanned aerial vehicles is built by Iran and operated by Iran and Hezbollah. The Mohajer is primarily used to spy on military installations, enemy positions, etc. It may also be capable of guiding laser-guided munitions to their targets.
Mohajer was first developed at the peak of the Iran-Iraq war. Studies started between 1984 and 1985 by Iranian universities and IRGC as Iran needed surveillance equipment to gather information about Iraqi moves . Four prototypes were built in 1985 and were initially put into service to monitor the enemy lines in Shalamche . This drone which was later named Mohajer 1 was Iran's first step to manufacture UAVs. Mohajer continued to photograph Iraqi lines to the end of the war and accomplished 619 sorties at the end . There are reports indicating that Mohajer 1 was armed with six RPG-7 rockets to attack enemy positions, making it one of the first UCAVs of history .
Following the successful use of Mohajer 1, Iran wanted a version with more range and endurance to monitor distant unreachable places. The version which was later named Mohajer 2 also had an auto pilot system to help it in its missions in places far from the reach of radio waves of command center. Its body was completely built with composite materials. More than 200 Mohajer 2s are built as of 2011 .
Mohajer 3 (also called Hodhod) was developed to further increase the range and endurance. The body was redesigned to achieve this goal.
Mohajer 4 was later designed for both Iranian Army and IRGC. The body was again redesigned and better cameras were installed on the drone. Range and endurance were increased much more. There are two other variants of Mohajer 4 called "Hodhod A/100" and "Shahin". As of 2006, 30 Mohajer 4 and 10 Shahins were built.
Mohajer 1 : Initial variant developed during Iran-Iraq war.
Mohajer 2 : Slightly better range. Addition of auto pilot systems. Had an endurance of 1.5 hours and range of 50 km.
Mohajer 3 : Features a more box shaped body that is different from cylinder shaped bodies of Mohajer 1 and 2. With a range of 100 km and endurance of 2–3 hours.
Mohajer 4 : Body is again redesigned and features low mounted trapezoid shaped wings with upward wingtips to lessen the drag. Operational range is increased to 150 km, altitude to 15000 feet and endurance to 7 hours. The weight of the drone is almost double of the older versions. There are two sub-versions with unknown differences called "Hodhod A/100" and "Shahin" .
Type : Strategic reconnaissance
Used by : Iran - Hezbollah - Sudan - Syria - Venezuela
Manufacturer : Qods Aviation Industries
Variants : 1 / 2 / 3 / 4
Weight : 85 - 174 kg ( Depending on model )
Length : 2.9 - 3.64 m ( Depending on model )
Operational range : 50-150 km ( Depending on model )
The Mohajer-1 rocket-firing version – armed with up to six RPG-7 rounds – was indeed used in combat against Iraq,which can be considered the first combat application of a weaponized UAS. It could also release grenades with a simple mechanism. The Mohajer UAS were in some cases also used for artillery correction, by sending data to the ground station and showing the impact point for the line commanders .
The positive wartime experience with unmanned aircraft prompted the Iranian leaders to endorse an expanded investment in the UAS industry, initially concentrated in the IRGC’s workshops and then transferred to a new industry entity, Qods Aviation Industries. The Iran Aircraft (Initially Helicopter) Manufacturing Industries (IAMI or, as it is called in Persian, HESA) near Esfahan, which was originally set up by Bell Textron to manufacture Bell transport helicopters in Iran, was also quite active in developing .
Mohajer 2 was designed and produced to cover and Reconnaissance further and inaccessible areas . Due to their low radar cross section , they can get close to the enemy fortifications and send the Information required by commanders such as Telemetry data and videos live .
The Mohajer-2 shares the same basic design as the Mohajer-1, but adds what can only be explained as carry handles have been mounted on either side of the fuselage just forward and below the leading edge of the wing. The wheels meanwhile have been replaced with skids. It is powered by an unknown 25 hp engine. One possible candidate is the WAE-342 which is also used on the Ababil UAS. One large increase in capability compared to the Mohajer-1 comes in the addition of an auto-pilot with a real-time data uplink/downlink.
Mounted in the front of the fuselage is a new payload bay which can carries a traversable mount for TV or FLIR cameras. Also carried is a line-scanner that is advertised as being able to provide 1-meter resolution at an altitude of 5 km. Some models also have a static, forward facing camera mounted in the front of the fuselage.
Payload : Still or video camera , same or better system the the Mohajer 2. Possibly RPG Rockets
Mohajer-3 is a development of the Mohajer-2 , they are superficially very similar , the distinguishing features being a slight downturn on the end of the wings. It is unclear whether it has the ability to be recovered via parachute . The main difference is range and endurance , most likely achieved to lightening the system or a change in the engine, though there is no indicators of the latter .
The aircraft can perform its mission in various climatic conditions . It's applications are : aerial surveillance , reconnaissance , electronic warfare , watching , targeting and controlling the borders to combat traffickers . it's also used for controlling urban traffic and Shooting for geographical maps .
Flight time : 5 - 7 hours ( 3 - 5 hours in some cases )
Speed : 180 - 200 km/h
The Mohajer 4 , also known as the Hodhod, radically from previous designs featuring a larger box-like fuselage compared to the cigarette shape of earlier generations. The wings are now tapered with a upward cranked tip. Meanwhile, the static skids of the Mohajer 2 have been replaced with flexible skids in a tricycle configuration. It also features composite construction .
The Mohajer 4 was reported to have been first tested in February 2002 alongside the Saeqeh target drone. At least two types of engines appear to be in use, though the exact designations are unknown .
The Mohajer 4 appears to use the same TV/FLIR payload as the Mohajer 2. Another similarity between the two models can be found in the presence of a static, forward-facing camera in the nose of some models of the Mohajer 4 as well.
Saeqeh is a delta wing narrow pointed fuselage target drone. Control surfaces are located on the horizontal stabilizers. The drone uses a pusher-configuration engine which generates a power of 25hp which makes it able to endure for 45 minutes .
Saeqeh is one of the fastest UAVs in Iran and that's why it's used as targets by Iranian air defense system and artillery equipment . Also its a maneuverable and unstable plane which has come from it's design .
It comes in two versions. The first one which only has radio command guidance system and the other one which has GPS guidance and IR emissions . Both versions are launched via a booster and are recovered by parachute .
Both variants share the same design featuring narrow, pointed fuselage with a large cropped delta wing and a single tailplane. Like the Ababil, control surfaces are found on horizontal surfaces, but not on the vertical tailplane.
Launch is via RATO or pneumatic launcher and can be recovered via parachute .
Some models carry a static, forward facing camera in the nose, similar to the models carried by the Mohajer-2 and Mohajer-4 . This cannot positively be identified as a unique feature of the Saeqeh-2 versus the Saeqeh-1 .
The most basic of target drones, the Saeqeh-1 only has basic radio control . Its usually used as a target for non-radar air defense systems .
Speed : 250 km/h
Range : 10 km
Flight altitude : 11000 feet ( 3300 m )
Flight time : 60 min
Nearly physically identical to the earlier model, the Saeqeh-2 first flew in 2002 alongside the Mohajer-4 .
In a step-up from basic radio control, the Saeqeh-2 now has GPS guidance. It can also mimic different radar and IR emissions allowing it to serve as a decoy both defensively and offensively for penetrating an enemies air defenses .
This plane is usually used as a flying target for air defense systems like the previous version but more equipped .
Toophan 2 is an Iranian UAV that has been designed to find and destroy the enemy using optical detectors . This UAV's design and performance is based on Suicide missions and due to it's small size , can be launched from various locations , Toophan 2 can approach the enemy without being detected and hit it's targets with the speed of 250 km/h that makes reaction difficult .
Baaz is a maneuverable plane designed for reconnaissance missions and training UAV pilots . Its also used as a flying target .
Chabok par :
Chabok par drone is one of the HESA products and its used for learning basic techniques for UAV pilots , specially trained Navy pilots .
Its features can be lightweight , high maneuverability and the ability of launching and landing in water . Easy assembly and disassembly, packaging and maintenance is easy as well as other features.
Tiz par :
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Tiz par is a small and light plane considered for training primary flying techniques . The unique features of the aircraft, including it's easy guidance and maneuverability have made it a good and comfortable plane for training beginners . The body is made of corkwood and Is simply assembling and packaging .
Designing such training models and producing around 320 Talash 1 and Talash 2 training UAVs show a strong determination for training UAV pilots in Iran in the best possible condition .
Also new models of training UAVs are designed and produced by using the latest technology in Iran .