Iran unveils drones armed with air-to-air missiles

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Iran has reinforced its air defense capabilities by adding combat drones equipped with air-to-air missiles to its arsenal, state media reported on Sunday.

“Dozens of Karrar drones armed with air-to-air missiles have been added for air defense in all border areas of the country,” the official IRNA news agency said.

The drones, with an operational range of up to 1,000 kilometers (620 miles), were exhibited Sunday morning during a televised ceremony organized at a military academy in Tehran.

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“The enemies will now have to rethink their strategies” because the Iranian forces have “become more powerful,” IRNA quoted the commander-in-chief of Iran’s army, General Abdolrahim Mousavi, as saying.

The Karrar interceptor drone, the first version of which was unveiled in 2010, has been equipped with a “Majid” thermal missile with a range of eight kilometers (five miles) “made entirely in Iran,” added the agency.

It “succeeded in its operational tests” during military exercises held in October, Mousavi said.

A handout picture provided by the Iranian Army office on December 10, 2023, shows Iranian homemade Karrar drones displayed during an inauguration ceremony in Tehran. (AFP)
A handout picture provided by the Iranian Army office on December 10, 2023, shows Iranian homemade Karrar drones displayed during an inauguration ceremony in Tehran. (AFP)

The development of Iran’s military arsenal has sparked concern among many countries, particularly the United States and Israel, the sworn enemies of the Islamic Republic.

The latter accuse Tehran of providing fleets of drones to its allies in the Middle East, notably to Lebanese Shia group Hezbollah, and to the Houthis in Yemen.

Iran also backs the Palestinian militant group Hamas, which has been engaged in a war with Israel since it launched deadly attacks there on October 7.

Tehran has been accused by Kyiv and its Western allies of providing Russia with drones for use in the Ukraine war, a claim Tehran denies.

Western governments, however, imposed several rounds of biting sanctions on Iran over the alleged arms sales.

Iran began manufacturing drones in the 1980s during its eight-year war with Iraq.

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