Iran unveils unmanned bomber

Tel Aviv
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Iran unveiled its new unmanned aerial vehicle 22 Aug, a bomber largely based on the South African Skua target drone.

Israeli analysts say the Iranians have changed the location of the wing and engine but the basic design is of the target drone.

The Karrar was displayed carrying a 226.8kg (500lb) bomb. In another image it was shown armed with four Iranian-made Kosar anti-ship missiles, a copy of a Chinese missile. It is also said to be capable of carrying two 250lb bombs.

Tal Inbar, a senior researcher in the Fisher Brothers Institute for Aviation and Space in Israel, said that the Iranian UAV is powered by a Tulu jet engine. "This is probably a copy of an old TRI-60 French jet engine," he says.

In the images shown on Iranian television, there is no sign of a satellite communications system and therefore the aircraft would not be capable of real-time intelligence missions. Iranian TV also reported the drone has a maximum speed of 486kts (900 km/h) and a 900km range. Inbar and other Israeli analysts assess that the Karar may have a range of 1000km.

Inbar said that while the Karrar -- "striker" in Persian -- was presented as a long-range attack system, it is equipped with a recovery chute. The South african Skua on which it is based can be launched and recovered up to 20 times. The Skua also only has line-of-sight comminucations capablities.

Earlier this month, Denel Dynamics was awarded a 2.4 million rand ($329.3 million) contract to upgrade the Skua.