Suicide drone? Iran presents amphibious attack UAV

A handout picture released on October 26, 2016 by the Tasnim news agency show what Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards referred to as "suicide drone" and capable of delivering explosives to blow up targets at sea and on land, in the Iranian capital Tehran. © Tasnim news
Iran has unveiled a new drone reportedly designed for stealth suicide missions against both land and sea targets. It is the second drone to be introduced by the Islamic Republic this month.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards have reportedly announced that they have developed a “suicide drone” designed to deliver explosives to blow up land and sea based targets, Tasnim news agency reported, before taking down the article.

Designed to be used primarily for maritime surveillance, the UAV can also carry missiles in addition to “heavy payloads of explosives for combat missions to launch suicide attacks,” Tasnim said, according to media reports.

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The new military hardware is said to be capable of flying at very low altitudes to avoid detection, descending to just two feet (half a meter) above water. However, it can also be flown as high as 900 meters (3,000 feet) at a speed of around 250 kilometers per hour (160 mph).

“Flying at a high cruising speed near the surface of the water, the aircraft can collide with the target and destroy it, either a vessel or an onshore command centre,” the statement noted.

In addition to its destructive capabilities, the drone also has an advanced military camera at its disposal, which can be used at night and in damp sea conditions. Powered by two small propellers, it has a range of 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) and a flight time of four hours.

Earlier this month, the Revolutionary Guards announced that it had cloned an American made attack drone. Production of the Saegheh (Thunderbolt) drone involved using reverse-engineering of a US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) RQ-170 Sentinel drone that was captured in December 2011. The Iranian drone reportedly has high endurance and can carry a payload of four smart guided bombs.