Iran (IP) - One of the great and admirable achievements of the defense industry and the Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran is the acquisition of advanced UAV design and manufacturing knowledge so that Iran is now one of the world's top UAV powers.

Iran Press/Iran News: Experiences of wars and military conflicts in recent years have shown that UAVs can play a decisive role in determining the outcome of wars, and therefore the issue of development, production, and operation of various types of UAVs should be followed very seriously.

Holding a large UAV drill for the Army of the Islamic Republic of Iran in January 2021 is a good opportunity to write about one of the most successful and effective drones of the Air Defense Force of the Army of the Islamic Republic of Iran, namely the "Karrar" jet UAV.

Iranian military experts have always sought to use UAVs to perform different missions, but in the form of a platform and a relatively uniform product, in addition to reducing design and construction costs, to provide the possibility of changing the use of UAVs in a short time and according to the needs of the operational unit.

Karrar multi-purpose UAV, which is known as a defense product and at the same time is widely used in the Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a significant example in this regard. Due to the foresight of Iranian defense experts, this drone has been able to play important and various roles.


Prior to the victory of the Islamic Revolution, Iran purchased a number of MQM107 drones from the United States to test anti-aircraft systems and air-to-air missiles of Air Force fighter jets. This American UAV with its micro turbojet engine could reach a speed of 925 kilometers per hour and its flight altitude was about 12 kilometers. In recent years, Iranian experts have been able to develop a new UAV based on the MQM 107 drone, which has very significant capabilities.

Karrar UAV is manufactured by Iran Aircraft Industries, which was officially unveiled on Defense Industry Day in 2010. The two main missions of the drone at the time of its unveiling were to be used as a target for the aircraft to test radar and defense systems and to carry out aerial bombardment operations. To date, four generations of Karrar drones have been introduced with slight differences in dimensions and flight specifications, but with a variety of missions. All types of UAVs are launched using rail launchers and solid fuel boosters, and their landing method is with umbrellas and airbags.

The Karrar UAV is capable of carrying and launching weapons used in manned combat aircraft. Looking at the various military drones in the world, it can be said that the Karrar drone is the most versatile drone in the world on a specific and almost fixed platform. Reconnaissance missions, flying targets for air training, attacking land and sea targets, air interception, suicide attack and finally electronic warfare are some of the topics that have been defined for this drone to date, and if we differentiate the mission against land and sea targets, it can be said that the Karrar drone is currently being developed for 7 specialized military missions and can play a role in these areas.

Given the various capabilities and missions that have been defined for the UAV, this UAV can provide an important part of the needs of the Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran for many years. In 2020, during the unveiling of the defense industry, the Azarakhsh air-to-air missile, the 500-pound laser-guided bomb, the new Balaban bomb, and the Simorgh cluster bomb were introduced as new weapons of the UAV. The increase in the carrying capacity of remote-controlled bombs such as the Balaban series, as well as laser-guided bombs, represents a significant change in internal systems.


Karrar, a UAV with a cylindrical hull, a wing-mounted at the bottom of the fuselage, a turbojet engine at the bottom of the fuselage with an air intake at the top, and an H- shaped tail. The wingtips of this UAV are designed to be somewhat curved to reduce the induction delay effect. There is a place under the fuselage and the possibility of installing a place under each wing to carry cargo outside the fuselage of Karrar UAV.

Length of 3.75, the wingspan of 3.1 and height of 1.5 meters, and maximum take-off weight of 750 kg with the ability to carry a payload of 250 kg are the features of Karrar-3 UAV. This model achieves a flight ceiling of 35,000 feet, equivalent to 10,670 meters, a top speed of 700 and a travel speed of 650 kilometers per hour, and has a flight duration of 1 hour and 15 minutes. In this example, the Tolo-4 jet engine with GP4 fuel is used and the hull material is mainly aluminum.

For other recurring examples, the ability to fly up to an altitude of 40,000 feet, equivalent to 12,200 meters, and a top speed of 900 kilometers per hour is mentioned. In case of flight, Karrar drones have a range of up to 200 km in direct communication with the station of origin (Karrar-3), and in case of scheduled flight without the need for permanent communication with the station, it has a range of 800 to 1000 km.

Show capabilities

In a great military UAV drill in mid-December 2020, the Karrar drone successfully struck and destroyed an air target with a low radar cross-section and at high altitude by firing a lightning air missile. The Azarakhsh missile is the result of an effort to develop an air-to-air and air-to-ground weapon based on the American AIM-9 Sidewinder air-to-air missile, which was unveiled by the Revolution Guards a few years ago.

UAVs shooting by using artillery payloads and destroying hostile air targets were other operational measures carried out in this part of the army's great UAV combat drills. The exercise also destroyed enemy surface targets, fortifications, and positions with recurring drones equipped with MK-82 500-pound bombs.

Another important issue is the high accuracy of this UAV in the field of bombing, even with non-smart bombs. According to images released by the Ministry of Defense, the UAV fired an 82-gauge bomb from a height of 640 meters at a speed of 593 kilometers per hour and hit the target with great accuracy. The bomb in question in this exercise is not of the guided type and no external targeting systems can be seen under the test drone.

It can be speculated that the new type of Karrar drone is equipped with a new type of targeting system that is installed inside it and has achieved very good accuracy in attacking fixed targets. 

Types of missions and features

The "Karrar" method of launching is by launching from the launcher with a booster (propulsion) of the rocket, after which its energy is exhausted, and the turbojet engine of the UAV itself is turned on. This UAV uses Tolo series jet engines made in Iran. The Karrar UAV is gradually taking on more missions. The prototype of the Karrar drone entered service in the role of air target, bombing ground targets, and anti-ship attacks. In addition to the 250- and 500-pound bombs, the UAV was also equipped with the Kowsar cruise missile, which can target hostile surface targets in the sea area.

Another role that has been defined for the Karrar UAV and images of it have been broadcast is interception and air combat known as the Karrar-4. This UAV with air tracking and patrol capability will probably use a newer model of Tolo-4 engine with the ability to fine-tune the thrust. In this role, the Karrar drone is equipped with Shahab Saqib infrared-guided missiles, which probably weigh about 60 to 80 kg, but recent images from the army air defense exercise show that the drone is also equipped with Azarakh missiles.

In reconnaissance operations, Karrar drones are usually mounted several times behind a heavy tractor and, when necessary, reach the desired height by a booster, and then begin flying with the main turbojet engine towards the target. In this case, there is no need for a special airport for this UAV, and wherever it can be installed and the booster activated, this bird can be flown from there. In case of need to recover this UAV, the umbrella system is installed in it and the desired drone lands on the ground after the umbrella operation.

In the drills of the Velayat Sky Air Defenders in 2019, another example of the "intercepting Karrar" drone called Karrar-3 was used and operated, which hit its target in a suicide manner. Published images of the Karrar UAV suicide intercepter show that in order to increase the accuracy of hitting a hostile aircraft, optical or thermal sensors are installed in its nose to hit the target in the form of an optical lock or thermal lock.

The Karrar suicide model was in fact the result of a change in previous models of the drone. With the addition of different navigation systems as well as an optical finder to the tip of the nose and of course a secure data line between the drone and air defense command stations, Suicide Squad has the ability to automatically from its storage location, which can be anywhere in the country to fly and move towards it by receiving the target information directly, with the most optimal peak route.

A suicide Karrar UAV detonates his head by striking directly or approaching a suitable distance from the target. Each of the more than 3,600 points of defense that are spread across the country, some of which are short distances from the border, can store a number of Karrar-3 suicide drones and Karrar-4 interceptor drones, which are the closest points of defense depending on the conditions of the target or the enemy targets, the enemy's point of penetration will be launched in a very short time and they will enter the stage of conflict with the target.

During the air exercise of the Air Force of the Islamic Republic of Iran called the Velayat -99 Sky Defenders, a new mission was introduced for Karrar, which is electronic warfare by this drone. In this way, Karrar can be equipped with electronic warfare pods internally or installed under the fuselage and carry out disruptive operations against enemy radars or telecommunication systems.


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