With a lot of tension sparking between the U.S. and Iran’s navy, it’s no surprise that we are beginning to see drones more frequently used in modern warfare.
Recently, Tehran-backed Shia Muslim Houthi rebels from Yemen fired missiles at U.S. Navy ships in the Red Sea. In January, Iran captured 10 U.S. sailors after their two small Navy vessels strayed into Iranian waters.
Iran’s navy recently released a photo of what’s being called a “suicide drone” that can be loaded with explosive materials and deliberately crashed into targets at sea and on land.
The announcement was carried by Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency.
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 pilotless aircraft is also equipped with an advanced military camera. The camera can be used at night and in “damp sea conditions,” according to the Tasnim News Agency.
Tasnim did not release any photos of the drone in flight.
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.
The U.S. military has relied increasingly on drones for combat missions. However with with military drones being replicated and modified by opposing countries, an unmanned war may be on the brink.