Iran’s Drones Selling Like Hot Cakes as Demand Outpaces Production Capacity, Top Commander Says
19:07 GMT 18.09.2023 (Updated: 19:16 GMT 18.09.2023)
The Islamic Republic first began tinkering with unmanned aerial vehicle designs in the 1980s during the Iraqi war of aggression, and in recent decades, has amassed technical knowhow which has made it one of the top drone powers in the world.
Demand for Iran’s military unmanned aerials vehicles has outpaced the defense sector’s ability to produce them, Armed Forces Chief of Staff Mohammad Baqeri has revealed.
“Our defense industries have grown tremendously. We used to need to import the simplest equipment from abroad, but the defense industries of our country have made tremendous progress. We were once prohibited from buying anything [related to defense, ed.] but today we are prohibited from selling anything. Today, the customers of our drones exceed our production capacity many times over, and major countries of the world look to our weapons,” Baqeri said at a conference on Monday commemorating Holy Defense week and the 43rd anniversary of the start of the Iran-Iraq War of 1980-1988.
“Today, Iran’s ballistic missile power is among that of the top powers of the world. This is one of the achievements of the Holy Defense. Similarly, our drone power has expanded and today we have become a great drone power competing with the great powers of the world,” the commander added.
Baqeri stressed that the Iran-Iraq War was “imposed on the Iranian nation” and was not something the Iranian nation wanted, “but our people defended themselves with all their strength,” and that “besides the losses, the Holy Defense brought us many blessings, including very important political, economic, military, defense and cultural strategic achievements,” most importantly, the defense of territorial integrity, deterrence, and self-reliance.
The commander also highlighted that Iran’s more recent experience in supporting anti-terrorist forces in Iraq and Syria have provided the armed forces with insights in how to plan and execute modern combined arms operations.
1 September, 19:08 GMT
Iran first began using aerial drones in the mid-1980s for intelligence-gathering purposes during the Iran-Iraq War with the Ababil-1 and Mohajer-1 UAV designs. From the 1990s onward, the country started to design and produce a broad array of short, medium and long-range reconnaissance and strike drones, some fitted with propellers, others rocket-powered.
The country has well over fifty types of drones in operation and many more under development, including completely indigenous suicide drones, long-range rocket-powered strike UAVs, and even reverse-engineered designs of American and Israeli drones which made the mistake of flying into Iran’s airspace and which were captured.
Iran’s defense achievements aren’t limited to drones. Last month, the Defense Ministry Logistics Department spokesman Rez Talaei-Nik revealed that the national defense industry accounts for as much as 90 percent of the military’s overall equipment needs.