Iran has developed a new type of drone that can evade missiles fired to shoot it down, and can destroy itself to prevent its secrets falling into enemy hands, the semi-official Iranian FARS news agency reported on Sunday.
The Sarallah unmanned aerial vehicle weighs around four kilograms and was designed by one Hassan Akbari Layeq, although the report gave no further details on Lyeq’s position or title.
“Given the daily progress of drones as well as the increased missile power to destroy them, a missile-evading drone was designed and built for the first time in the world which can escape thermal and air-to-air missiles and no missile can approach the drone any closer than 250 meters,” Layeq said.
According to Layeq the drone avoids potential threats by speeding up to dodge out of the way, a unique capability for such a small drone.
“This is the first time that this technology has been designed and used for a 4-kilogram drone,” he noted.
In addition to its crafty evasion techniques, the drone can also make an emergency landing if it detects technical problems with its systems. If no reasonable landing site is available, as a last resort it can self-destruct.
The drone, which can reach speeds of up to 160 kilometers per hour (100 mph), has a flight time of 60 minutes, or 40 minutes if the safety system is operating.
“To escape missiles, the drone is capable of flying at a maximum altitude of 8,000 meters (26,000 feet) and enjoys the capability to hide from laser optics and infrared light at night,” Layeq said.
The report did not explain what the function of the drone is, or whether it can be used for surveillance, communication, or attack.
Iran has developed a range of drone aircraft, some of which are based on a captured US drone that came down inside Iranian territory.
Last month Iran announced it had tested a “suicide drone” during massive military drills held near the Strait of Hormuz at the entrance to the Persian Gulf. The drone, thought to be named Yasir, is reportedly designed to strike air, ground and naval targets by crashing into them and then detonating its warhead.
Western military analysts say the Yasir is a modified version of the American ScanEagle drone.
Iran frequently touts advances in its homegrown aerospace industries. It says its most advanced drone, the Shahed-129, can reach much of the Middle East, including Israel. The drone is said to have a range of 1,700 kilometers (1,050 miles) and a 24-hour flight capability, and can carry eight bombs or missiles capable of hitting both stationary and moving targets
The Associated Press contributed to this report.