At the end of May 2022, for the first time information appeared on the Internet that Russia plans to receive unmanned aerial vehicles from Iran, probably for use in the war against Ukraine.


Figure 1 – UAV satellite image of the site

Thanks to satellite images published by the CNN news agency, it became known that during one such visit to the Kashan airfield south of Tehran, Russians were shown at least two types of UAVs – “Shahed-191” (Shahid-191) and “Shahed-129”. ” (Shahid-129). There is also information regarding the training of UAV crews of the Russian Federation on the Shahid-129 and Shahid-191 complexes in July 2022 and the sending of these complexes to Russia to participate in the Russian-Ukrainian war across the Caspian Sea. (information from open sources, not confirmed).
Let’s take a closer look at the “Shahed-129” UAV


Figure 2 – Appearance of the “Shahed-129” UAV

Tactical and technical characteristics are given in Table 1

Based on the analysis of information obtained from open sources regarding the tactical and technical characteristics of the Shahed-129 UAV, it is a single-engine propeller UAV with a narrow cylindrical fuselage, approximately 65-75 cm in diameter, equipped with an electronic-optical and infrared sensor, a laser range finder for day and night missions, real-time video data transmission. The flight time is about 24 hours. Equipped with a Rotax 914 aircraft engine. There are suspensions for 4 – 8 ammunition, including guided ammunition “Sadid-345”. The declared flight range is 1,700 km. It is similar in size, shape and application principles to the American MQ-1 “Predator” and MQ-9 “Reaper” and is considered one of the most effective UAVs in the Iranian arsenal.

Strengths
Thanks to the electronic-optical camera, the UAV can conduct aerial reconnaissance at a distance of 60 to 80 km (under ideal weather conditions). Optical-electronic aerial reconnaissance complexes of UAVs ensure the formation of images of areas and objects in various ranges of the spectrum of optical radiation (visible, infrared) with a high degree of detail.

During one sortie, “Shahed-129” (Shahid-129) can hit from 4 to 8 targets (depending on the modification), attacking them both simultaneously and sequentially. It has the ability to automatically return to the operational airfield ( take-off point) in case of loss of control using the inertial system.

Weak sides
UAV “Shahed-129” (Shahid 129) due to its effective scattering surface is a sufficiently visible object for its detection and tracking by air defense radar means. It should also be noted that the flight speed is low (up to 150 km/h).

In addition, the lack of a warning system at the control point for the passage of anti-aircraft guided missiles does not allow the operator to remove the UAV from under attack in time.

Meteorological conditions, especially low cloud cover and fog, also significantly affect the quality of combat missions of the “Shahed-129” UAV (range of conducting optical reconnaissance in difficult meteorological conditions from 15 to 20 km). In addition, there is a high probability that this UAV is unsuitable for use in winter conditions (difficult meteorological conditions: sleet with rain, heavy fog) and no anti-icing system (sticking of wet snow), as it was never used in the temperate-continental part of the globe, but only in southern latitudes.

For reference. American analysts assume that Iran currently has no more than 30 Shahed-129 UAVs. In addition, Iran’s production capacity allows the production of no more than 3 (three) UAVs of this type per year.
Author: Kalyan

By Treadstone 71

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