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Mr Iran Eye

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We should not compare the technologies 50 years ago to today on the same platform. It's like comparing the rotary phone to today's smart phone. We must be careful with the analyzes of Westerners who underestimate the technology of the enemy
 

Arminkh

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Why Iran Is Arming Its Drones With Air-To-Air Missiles


Last week Iran carried out extensive drone warfare exercises, with several hundred unmanned aircraft flying reconnaissance missions against fixed and mobile targets over land and sea, and mock attacks with machine guns, bombs and guided missiles as well as kamikaze strikes. One of the firsts for Iran was the launch of an air-to-air missile by a drone. This doesn’t mean that Iran will be unleashing a mass of Top Gun dogfighting drones on U.S. forces anytime soon, but it does hint at a significant new capability.

[...]

So why fit an old-fashioned, remote-controlled aircraft, basically a flying target with a bomb slung underneath, with an air-to-air missile? There are a couple of tactical applications that make sense.

The Karrar is sometimes described as an interceptor, and can be used kamikaze-style to ram incoming aircraft. Mounting a surface-to-air missile would give it two shots rather than one, and would also allow it to be used repeatedly rather than as a one-off. This might be a useful capability against simple, non-evading targets such as cruise missiles. The speed of launch could put interceptors in the air more rapidly than manned aircraft. Exactly how successful the Karrar/ Azarakhsh would be in this role is open to question, but their presence could make things more complicated for any proposed attack.

Another possible target would be enemy drones, because the pilots lack 'situational awareness' — with no cockpit to see out of, they can often be approached and shot down without seeing their attacker. This would give Iran a long-range and relatively deniable way of tackling Reapers like the one that killed Qassem Soleimani.

The missiles could also give defensive capability. This is similar to what the U.S. Air Force did in the early 2000s, fitting Stinger air-to-air missiles to its MQ-1 Predator drones so that they would not be easy prey for Iraqi jets while carrying out reconnaissance missions. The idea was that they might at least scare off the Iraqis if not shoot them down. On the only occasion one exchanged missiles with a MiG-25 2002, the Predator was blown out of the sky. The idea has since been revived though, and an MQ-9 Reaper successfully took out a target with an air-to-air missile (assumed to be a Sidewinder) in a 2018 test.

Waves of Karrars may attack targets like air bases or aircraft carriers. Most are likely to be carrying bombs or surface-to-air-missiles, and will be intercepted by fighters long before they reach their goal and a one-sided fight will ensue. Equipping some drones with air-to-air missiles changes the encounter from a turkey shoot to something more like Russian Roulette for the fighters, with the risk that getting too close could mean getting shot down. Again, that changes the calculus of the action. A dozen drones for one F-18 Hornet, for example, would be an excellent exchange rate for the Iranians.

The Iran announcement is nothing technically impressive, but shows a creative approach to bolting together well-established technologies. Remote-controlled dogfighting drones derived from old aerial targets are a distinct possibility – the U.S. Navy developed them 50 years ago, but the idea may have been a bit too scary for advocates of manned aircraft. And while true ‘Loyal Wingman’ robot fighters may be a few years away, the Iranian exercise shows we should prepare now for drones that shoot back.

I think anti-drone operation is the most credible and feasible application. Using it against enemy choppers could also be possible. But against real jet fighters, it's a long shot.
 

VEVAK

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I think anti-drone operation is the most credible and feasible application. Using it against enemy choppers could also be possible. But against real jet fighters, it's a long shot.

In the long run arming UAV's like the Karrar with A2A will be seen as proof of concepts and test platforms for future more capable UCAV projects.

You can't land the karrar with payloads attached so whatever you arm them with will have to be used if you have any intention of recovering the aircraft

Due to the vast ECM capabilities today for a UCAV to be able to conduct A2A missions it would need to have a certain amount of autonomy or it would need some kind of revolutionary com system that would make it not only jam prof at long distances but capable of near instantaneous communications at distances beyond direct line of sight...

Although Karrar currently lacks the altitude to be effective against jet aircrafts capable of flying at higher altitudes and is not a good platform for use and testing of more expensive more capable A2A missile, however, even with it's current configuration it could potentially be used to intercept mid to low altitude UAV's/UCAV, Cruise Missile, Helo's & other speed lower altitude threats like the V-22
 

WudangMaster

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You can't land the karrar with payloads attached so whatever you arm them with will have to be used if you have any intention of recovering the aircraft
I was wondering about that. When there was news that a karrar armed with a sidesinder was sent on a scramble mission during a recent war game, I wondered how it could land safely with parachute with the missile still attached underneath. I guess you could scramble another drone at the last second to expend the karrar's sidewinder, then land it with parachute if you really needed to; either way it can get wasteful if it happens too often.
 

sha ah

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I would assume that there would be some sort of inflatable, protective air bag encasing / protecting the missile ?

I was wondering about that. When there was news that a karrar armed with a sidesinder was sent on a scramble mission during a recent war game, I wondered how it could land safely with parachute with the missile still attached underneath. I guess you could scramble another drone at the last second to expend the karrar's sidewinder, then land it with parachute if you really needed to; either way it can get wasteful if it happens too often.
 

WudangMaster

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I would assume that there would be some sort of inflatable, protective air bag encasing / protecting the missile ?
Not impossible to do that, like landers sent to Mars over the past decades but I don't know how cumbersome and expensive it would be and if there still would be a risk of an explosion. Might be cheaper to have Karrar just drop it somewhere and write off the sidewinder, especially when there is a production line for them and probably a good size stockpile.
 

VEVAK

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I was wondering about that. When there was news that a karrar armed with a sidesinder was sent on a scramble mission during a recent war game, I wondered how it could land safely with parachute with the missile still attached underneath. I guess you could scramble another drone at the last second to expend the karrar's sidewinder, then land it with parachute if you really needed to; either way it can get wasteful if it happens too often.
Sidewinder would of been too expensive for use on the karrar and regardless Iran had to develop it's own called Azarakhsh (As always Iran is horrible at naming weapons) The Airframe of the Azarakhsh during initial inauguration was basically a copy of the AiM-9J with the same type of Gyro actuators however the Missile Iran tested on the Karrar this past week clearly lacked the gyro actuators.
Now whether they were replaced with a more advanced electro gyro upfront or dummied down and removed for testing remains to be seen but if its the latter it shows the extent you'd have to go through to save costs even on a domestically produced missiles
And although the Karrar is a good low cost platform for initial live fire testing to ensure a safe low cost successful launch at high subsonic speeds however it is not the most ideal platform for long term testing and live fire exercises and you'd be better off building a larger ucav capable of standard takeoff and landing

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Shawnee

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I was wondering about that. When there was news that a karrar armed with a sidesinder was sent on a scramble mission during a recent war game, I wondered how it could land safely with parachute with the missile still attached underneath. I guess you could scramble another drone at the last second to expend the karrar's sidewinder, then land it with parachute if you really needed to; either way it can get wasteful if it happens too often.
I don’t recall seeing a footage or picture of Karrar landing.

Considering MQM 107 landing, it is a pretty controlled and soft landing. With some precautions, it will be doable.


After all, sidewinder was used on MQM 107 too in 2009. The same parachute system did fine.
 
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WudangMaster

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I don’t recall seeing a footage or picture of Karrar landing.

Considering MQM 107 landing, it is a pretty controlled and soft landing. With some precautions, it will be doable.


After all, sidewinder was used on MQM 107 too in 2009. The same parachute system did fine.
There are parachutes that open from the top, I think there might have footage from its unveiling but nothing since then. Similar to the smaller Shahed/rq170 variants. Also, I think the hull lines where the chute is stowed are visible on them.
 

Shawnee

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There are parachutes that open from the top, I think there might have footage from its unveiling but nothing since then. Similar to the smaller Shahed/rq170 variants. Also, I think the hull lines where the chute is stowed are visible on them.

For a high subsonic drone, I thought it is retarding parachute fall to increase the aerodynamic drag. Check this out for Karrar:

 

Shawnee

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I think one of these is a karrar using a similar parachute already developed for earlier drones. I still haven't found the film of it and even pictures are rare.

View attachment 706514 View attachment 706513
Maybe you are right.

I thought the free fall with a parachute very close to the above fuselage intake is too much in high subsonic drones. Some sources like what I posted above claimed it is retarding parachute.

MQM 107 is not exactly Karrar after all. Its intake is below fuselage with different wing sets.
 

WudangMaster

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I'm not entirely clear on the concept of a retarding parachute, do you mean like when some planes land on a runway and the chute acts as extra braking?
 

WudangMaster

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Yes but in the air.

The same method of MQM 107 parachute that I posted in the video. It modifies the drag in high subsonic.
I just noticed the video. I think the reason they had to do that with the mq-107 is because they might not have been able to throttle the engine down as it was a one time use asset and the chute acts to kill momentum and then the craft simply free falls where as I suspect the Karrar engine can be throttled down or shut off and the chute acts to soften the landing and also allows it to land flat rather than a nose dive. Although that is pure speculation from me.. In either case, a live warhead would definitely have to dumped somewhere if not used on a mission before using any of these parachutes for landing.
 

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