Iran’s combat drones fitted with missiles

Article Highlights

  • Mohammad Ali Jafari has renewed emphasis on the IRGC-Navy and missile programs in Iran.

    Tweet This

  • Iran’s nascent UAVs pose a new threat which can impact international shipping and air traffic in the Persian Gulf.

    Tweet This

  • As Iran’s UAV fleet grows in terms of range and capability, the Persian Gulf risks are becoming far more dangerous.

    Tweet This

Editor's Note: FMSO’s Operational Environment Watch provides translated selections and analysis from a diverse range of foreign articles and other media that analysts and expert contributors believe will give military and security experts an added dimension to their critical thinking about the Operational Environment.

Source: پهپادهای رزمی ایران به موشک مجهز میشوند” Pehpadha-ye razme Iran be moshak-e mohjehaz mishavand (Iran’s Combat UAVs equipped with missiles),” Fars News Agency, 2 September 2012. 

Upon taking the helm of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in September 2007, Mohammad Ali Jafari undertook a complete reorganization and review of the its posture. He positioned IRGC Ground Force units to focus more on the internal rather than external threat, and he has renewed emphasis on the IRGC-Navy and missile programs.

Much media analysis regarding Iranian capabilities in the Persian Gulf focuses on whether it has the naval capability to make good on its threats to close the Strait of Hormuz. Iranian naval exercises highlight the danger to American warships posed by swarming small boats. Maritime insurance companies worry about Iranian mining of oil tanker routes in the Persian Gulf.

Iran’s nascent unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), however, pose a new threat which can impact international shipping and air traffic, both civilian and military, in the Persian Gulf. Iranian UAV development appears to be real; as mentioned in this latest Fars News article, Iran’s Defense Ministry and the IRGC have tested UAVs publicly. An English language Fars News article picking up on the same deputy defense minister interview as the Persian version below focused more on UAV models and capacity than on recent decisions to fit drones with missiles or cultivate intelligence from the American drone captured by Iran in December 2011 (See here).

The Persian Gulf is an extremely shallow body of water, with a maximum depth of less than 300 feet. Islands extending national maritime boundaries make international waters narrow.

If unarmed Iranian UAVs already posed a growing threat to aircraft and helicopters operating in international airspace over the Persian Gulf, then armed UAVs can throw gasoline onto an already combustible situation. Unlike their manned counterparts, radio protocols to warn off UAVs threatening U.S. ships’ safety parameter are unclear. A growing UAV fleet might embolden the IRGC to test the defenses of American naval vessels and the UAVs’ armament might also require U.S. or other international forces to fire sooner upon intruders while they are farther afield.

As Iran’s UAV fleet grows in terms of range and capability, the Persian Gulf risks are becoming far more dangerous. End OE Commentary



Also Visit
AEIdeas Blog The American Magazine
About the Author



What's new on AEI

Expanding opportunity in America
image Moving beyond fear: Addressing the threat of the Islamic state in Iraq and Syria
image Foreign policy is not a 'CSI' episode
image The Air Force’s vital role
AEI on Facebook
Events Calendar
  • 21
  • 22
  • 23
  • 24
  • 25
Monday, July 21, 2014 | 9:15 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Closing the gaps in health outcomes: Alternative paths forward

Please join us for a broader exploration of targeted interventions that provide real promise for reducing health disparities, limiting or delaying the onset of chronic health conditions, and improving the performance of the US health care system.

Monday, July 21, 2014 | 4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Comprehending comprehensive universities

Join us for a panel discussion that seeks to comprehend the comprehensives and to determine the role these schools play in the nation’s college completion agenda.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014 | 8:50 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Who governs the Internet? A conversation on securing the multistakeholder process

Please join AEI’s Center for Internet, Communications, and Technology Policy for a conference to address key steps we can take, as members of the global community, to maintain a free Internet.

Thursday, July 24, 2014 | 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
Expanding opportunity in America: A conversation with House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan

Please join us as House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) unveils a new set of policy reforms aimed at reducing poverty and increasing upward mobility throughout America.

Event Registration is Closed
Thursday, July 24, 2014 | 6:00 p.m. – 7:15 p.m.
Is it time to end the Export-Import Bank?

We welcome you to join us at AEI as POLITICO’s Ben White moderates a lively debate between Tim Carney, one of the bank’s fiercest critics, and Tony Fratto, one of the agency’s staunchest defenders.

Event Registration is Closed
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.