The Iranian armed forces have acquired three bomb-carrying drones with a range of 1,500 kilometers (932 miles), Defense Minister Amir Hatami said on state television on Saturday. The drones could monitor “enemy movements from a considerable distance” and were capable of combat missions, he said at the delivery ceremony in Tehran broadcast on TV.
The aircraft were equipped with bombs and missiles, and they can fly at an altitude of up to 45,000 feet (13,716 meters), he said, without indicating the name of the new drones. The drones were manufactured by Iran’s military industry with the participation of local universities, he said.
Drones are a key element in Iran’s border surveillance, especially the Gulf waters around the Strait of Hormuz, through which one-fifth of the world’s oil supply flows. Tensions between Iran and the United States have reached the highest levels in decades since the United States killed top Iranian General Qassem Soleimani in a drone strike in Baghdad on Jan. 3, prompting Iran to fire missiles days later at bases in Iraq where U.S. troops are stationed.