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20 Aug, 2013 19:14

Iran hires more long-range assault UAVs, set to teach ‘drone hunting’ in schools

Iran hires more long-range assault UAVs, set to teach ‘drone hunting’ in schools

Iran’s aircraft sector claims giant advancements in designing and manufacturing drones, including those with assault capabilities. It comes as Iran’s aerospace industry eyes raising security levels early on – by bringing alien drone hunting into schools.

Lieutenant commander of the Iranian Navy, Rear Admiral Gholam Reza Khadem Biqam, has revealed that dozens of new surveillance and assault UAVs have been delivered to the country’s Navy.

At present, the Navy is in possession of drones in proper sizes and with good range that are used for our intelligence domination in the region," Khadem Biqam told Iran’s Fars News Agency (FNA) on Tuesday.

Commander of Khatam ol-Anbia Air Defense Base, Brigadier General Farzad Esmayeeli, acknowledged in June that Iran’s most common homemade UAV is the long-range Sarir (Throne) drone which is capable of carrying high-precision cameras and air-to-air missiles.

These missiles enable Sarir to confront and combat multiple targets, including invading UAVs,” he said.

Esmayeeli also announced to troops the arrival of a more advanced drone, Haazem, set to be introduced on Air Defense Day in September. Haazem will reportedly be produced in short-, mid- and long-range versions - specializing in reconnaissance, air defense, ground assault, or serving as training targets for national air defenses.

Last week, Brigadier General Farzad Esmayeeli said that Iran’s airspace is rarely violated these days due to constant preparedness of frontier guards.

Perhaps some time ago there were some drones which sought to enter the country and they were hunted down or a number of drones came close to the country's borders and then receded, but at present they are not seen and the enemy is afraid of sending drones to Iran,” Esmayeeli declared in the north-eastern city of Mashhad on Saturday. “Such flights have severely decreased, but we are still vigilant,” he added.

The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) electronic warfare divisions can sufficiently override an alien drone guidance system by capturing it and forcing a landing on Iranian territory – which Tehran says has already happened. In December 2011, Iran’s air defense forces captured intact America’s top-secret RQ-170 Sentinel drone. A year later, in December 2012, the IRGC Navy hunted down the American ScanEagle drone, which is “usually launched from large warships.

Drone hunting might soon become a special course of study in Iranian schools.

This year, we will witness changes in the contents, teachers and teaching hours of the defensive preparedness lesson," remarked deputy commander of Iran’s Basij Forces, General Ali Fazli, as quoted by FNA. The Basij Forces are a paramilitary group of young volunteers.

FNA noted that drone-hunting would become part of a larger “defensive preparedness curriculum” to be taught in both junior and senior schools, for two and three hours every week respectively.

It is expected that schoolchildren would be taught the hacking of drone controls rather than how to shoot them down with conventional weapons.