U.S. And Israel Concerned Over Growing Drone Threat From Iran

The U.S. and Israel will establish an inter-agency working group “on the growing threat of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles [UAVs] and Precision Guided Missiles produced by Iran and provided to its proxies in the Middle East Region,” according to a statement from the White House following bilateral talks.

The threat from such drones was underlined by an apparent drone strike on a Syrian oil tanker last week. The latest Iranian-supplied drones can hit targets more than 2,000 kilometers away. New Iranian technology unveiled on Sunday indicates they are shifting to an even higher gear.

Isolated from international suppliers, Iran has become a significant drone developer in its own right, often using technology reverse-engineered from captured U.S. drones. Iranian technology has powered the Houthi rebels long-range drone campaign against Saudi Arabia, including the dramatic mass drone strike which set the giant Abqaiq oil processing facility ablaze.

On Sunday, the Iranian Army Ground Force showcased key new technologies to upgrade their drone force. These demonstrate just how rapidly the threat is evolving – perhaps faster than the defensive measures to counter them.

The Ranesh-1 (Propulsion-1) micro turbojet engine will supersede propeller engines on a range of drones and cruise missiles. While such engines are available on the international market, they are strictly controlled and cannot be easily imported. Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen currently use a variety of Chinese and German power plants for their propeller-driven Samad-3 drones. The Ranesh-1 promises higher speed and even longer ranges.

Many forces are beefing up their air defenses to tackle drones and the Saudis now seem to be shooting down the majority sent against them. The new Taha 1400 is a drone-mounted electronic warfare system which specifically targets surveillance radar and is claimed to cover “a large operational area.” It can be retrofitted easily to drones, and could prevent an attacking force being spotted.

Read the complete article at: Forbes


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