Iran held an exhibition of its missiles and drones over the weekend that showcased its successes in recent years. The exhibition is supposed to show the successes the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps aerial power. The show was open to government leaders and apparently the public, with the regime trying to show off its greatness ahead of the end of an arms embargo. Basically Tehran was saying: Look what we made despite the sanctions.
The exhibit included the Fateh, Zlfiqar, Sajil and Shahab missiles, and others that Fars News called Qadr, Nazeat, Khorramshahr, Emad, Dezful and Ra’ad 500, as well as the older versions of the Scud missile. In all there were 15 Iranian missiles on display.
The tour included discussions of Iran’s recent launch of the Noor-1 military satellite earlier this year. In addition, a section was devoted to Iran’s accomplishments in drone warfare. The regime visitors, with their starched uniforms, accompanied by some clerics, saw the Ababil family of drones, as well as the Karar UAV, the Saegeh and the Shahed family of drones.
These are Iran’s main drone warfare platforms that have been used successfully in recent years. Iran is now a drone superpower, one of the countries that builds large numbers of drones from the small tactical to large types, as well as kamikaze drones. Iran, China, the US, Israel, Turkey and Russia are among the top builders of drones.
Tehran also showed off new radar units that have an extended range. Radar is important for Iran’s missile and air defense. The highlight of the display was US drones it has captured. Tehran has a captured RQ-170 Sentinel drone, a secretive drone the US was using to spy on the Islamic Republic that it was able to bring down in 2011.
Iran also reconstructed the American RQ-4 Global Hawk that it shot down last year, a drone worth up to $200 million. Iran says it was able to reconstruct it from pieces found in the ocean after it shot the drone down. Tehran also claims it has an Israeli-made Hermes drone that it claimed to have shot down in 2014. Overall the display had 200 drones, most of them indigenously made.
The display shows that Iran believes it can field a state-of-the-art drone and missile army, backed by 3rd Khordad air defenses and a variety of cruise missiles. The country is clearly making a pitch to show that it is one of the global powers in weapons production, growing far beyond the reverse engineering of Russian, Chinese or North Korean ordnance.