Iran has revealed a new unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) seemingly based on the US-built General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) MQ-9A Reaper.The ‘Gaza’, as the UAV has been named in reference to the Palestinian territory, was unveiled on 21 May in series of images and videos posted by state-affiliated media organisations.
“Today, with divine success and the efforts of the country’s scientists and experts, we are witnessing the unveiling of three strategic and important achievements that were born and created under the conditions of sanctions and maximum pressure of the enemy,” Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, commander of the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC) aerospace force, was quoted by national media as saying, noting that one of the three achievements is the Gaza UAV.
According to the general, the Gaza UAV has an endurance of 35 hours, a service ceiling of 35,000 ft, an operational radius of 500 km for reconnaissance and surveillance (when flown ‘clean’), and can carry 13 ‘bombs’. The air vehicle shown in the footage is equipped with a nose-mounted electro-optical/ infrared (EO/IR) sensor turret.
The Gaza’s outer mould line and its dimensions relative to the personnel assembling the vehicle, as well as the Shahed-129 UAV also shown in the footage, reveal it to be almost identical in appearance and size to the Reaper. As such, the Gaza is approximately 11 m in length and has a wingspan of about 20 m.