Iran revealed the latest addition to its aerial arsenal on Tuesday, the Mohajer 10, an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) the country says can fly non-stop for up to 24 hours.
With an operational range of more than 1242 miles (2000 kilometers), the drone was unveiled for the first time earlier this week during a ceremony in honor of the country’s Defense Industry Day, according to a report by the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA).
The strike drone can reportedly carry up to 450 liters of fuel, as well as a payload weight topping out at close to 660 pounds. The UAV is also capable of intelligence gathering and electronic warfare operations.
Shortly after its unveiling, media outlets elsewhere around the world were quick to point out the obvious similarities between the Mohajer-10 and the American MQ-9 Reaper drone.
The MQ-9 Reaper, developed by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) for the United States Air Force (USAF), is itself a larger and faster model based on the original MQ-1 Predator, mainly serves as an intelligence-gathering UAV, although the Reaper is also capable of carrying AGM 114 Hellfire air-to-ground missiles, allowing it to perform precision drone strikes.
The MQ-9’s long-endurance and high-altitude performance ranks it among the most sophisticated tactical UAVs in the United States arsenal, and certainly the most well-known American military UAV currently in use.
Although the latest Iranian strike drone has higher flight duration, speed, and payload capabilities than earlier versions of the Mohajer drone series, which first entered production and use during the Iran–Iraq War with the Mohajer-1, the Mohajer-10 reaches estimated top speeds of around just 135 mph, compared with the MQ-9’s 275 mph maximum flight speed.
Videos released this week by Iranian media outlets featured the drone alongside text which read “prepare your shelters” in Hebrew and Persian languages, stoking tensions between the country and its enemies in Israel.
One day before the new strike drone’s unveiling, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Tehran of helping to facilitate recent attacks against Israelis.
“On the Iranian front, our efforts are unceasing for the simple reason that Iran’s acts of aggression are unceasing,” Netanyahu said during a cabinet meeting on Monday.
“Last week, Iran again attacked an oil tanker in the Persian Gulf (region) and struck at the international freedom of navigation,” Netanyahu added. Iran has not commented on the attack.
Iran has also recently been accused of providing Mohajer-6 drones to Russia by the United States, although Tehran denies that it is supporting Russia’s invasion of Ukraine by providing the country with UAVs.