Iran’s has inaugurated a powerful new long-range radar system capable of detecting small drone aircraft, the Islamic Republic’s state media reported Tuesday.
Gen. Farzad Esmaili, head of Iran’s air defense headquarters, said the system is named Arash, after a mythical Iranian hero. He said the radar will work on all UHF, VHF and HF frequencies and will improve Tehran’s ability to engage in electronic warfare.
In February the Revolutionary Guard said that it had captured a foreign unmanned aircraft during a military exercise in southern Iran. Gen. Hamid Sarkheili, a spokesman for the military exercise, said the Guard’s electronic warfare unit spotted signals indicating that foreign drones were trying to enter Iranian airspace. Sarkheili said Guard experts took control of one drone’s navigation system and brought it down near the city of Sirjan where the military drills were being held.
Iran frequently announces breakthroughs in military technology that are impossible to independently verify.
In November Iran unveiled a new reconnaissance and combat drone called “Fotros” that it said can fly for 30 hours and has a range of 2,000 kilometers (1,250 miles). That would cover much of the Middle East including Israel. The earlier Shahed-129 (Witness-129) drone is reported to have a similar range, but can only stay aloft 24 hours.
A month earlier Iran’s Revolutionary Guard announced the Shahed-129 drone that it said can fly up to a distance of 1,700 kilometers (1,062 miles), putting much of the Middle East within its range.
In February aviation experts lambasted Iran’s display of what it claimed was a new locally produced Qaher F-313, or “Dominant” F-313, stealth fighter.
The Islamic Republic launched an arms development program during its 1980-88 war with Iraq. Since 1992, it has produced its own tanks, armored personnel carriers, missiles, torpedoes, drones and fighter planes.