Iran has unveiled the “Kian”, a new high-precision drone that can locate and attack targets far from the country’s borders, according to officials.
Brigadier General Alireza Sabahifard displayed the unmanned aerial vehicle at a ceremony in the capital, Tehran, saying it can fly more than 1,000km and climb to an altitude of 5,000 metres, according to state media.
The jet-propelled drone comes in two models capable of “surveillance and reconnaissance missions and continuous flight for precision missions,” state news agency IRNA quoted him as saying on Sunday.
Sabahifard said the aircraft was designed, produced and tested by experts of the Iranian air defence force within about a year. Iran has developed a large domestic arms industry in the face of international sanctions and embargoes that have barred it from importing many weapons.
“This unmanned aircraft is capable of hitting targets far from the country’s borders and undertaking air defence from the enemy’s territory,” Sabahifard said.
The unveiling of the drone comes at a time of mounting tensions with the United States, which have escalated since last year when US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from a 2015 nuclear deal signed between Iran and world powers.
Washington has since reimposed sanctions to strangle the Iranian economy as part of a pressure campaign to force Tehran to negotiate a new agreement. Iranian leaders say they are open for dialogue if the sanctions are lifted and the US returns to the nuclear deal.
Iran shot down a US Global Hawk drone with a surface-to-air missile in June for allegedly violating its airspace, an accusation the US denies.
Last month, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani displayed what it described as a domestically-built long-range, surface-to-air missile air defence system, which state media described as a competitor to the Russian S-300 missile system.