Iran claims to have domestically produced drone

Tehran announces completion of unmanned aerial vehicle following interception of US drone in December.

Hajizadeh and downed US drone_311 (photo credit: FARS)
Hajizadeh and downed US drone_311
(photo credit: FARS)
Less than four months after confiscating a US drone that went down in its territory, Iran has domestically produced a new unmanned aerial vehicle called the Shaparak (Moth), Iranian state-owned news agency Press TV reported on Saturday.
The drone has an operational radius of 50 kilometers and a flight ceiling of 4,572 meters, Press TV quoted Reza Danandeh Hakamabad, the aeronautics engineer in charge of the project, as saying on Friday.
He added that the aircraft has the capability to fly non-stop for three and a half hours and can carry an 8 kilogram payload.
Powered by a two-cylinder engine, the Iranian drone is equipped with cameras that can submit surveillance images to the base on the ground, according to the report.
Iran claimed to have shot down a RQ-170 Sentinel drone that was flying over its airspace in December, later saying that they had actually commandeered the UAV’s navigation system, making it land in Iranian territory.
US military officials said that the drone went down due to technical difficulties while on a surveillance mission, denying that Iran had actively brought the craft down.
Iran displayed the US drone on television, vowing to “reverse-engineer” the UAV to build its own drone.
Meanhile, the world’s biggest electronic payment system on Saturday cut off Iranian banks blacklisted by the EU, in an attempt to further strangle Tehran’s ability to finance a nuclear program.
Belgium-based SWIFT, which facilitates the bulk of global cross-border payments, said it disconnected designated Iranian financial firms from its messaging system on Saturday after European regulators ordered the company to do so.
“The EU decision forces SWIFT to take action,” Lázaro Campos, SWIFT chief executive, said in a statement on Thursday.
“Disconnecting banks is an extraordinary and unprecedented step for SWIFT,” Campos said. “It is a direct result of international and multilateral action to intensify financial sanctions against Iran.”