Iran – Qeshm Island: Deployment of Advanced UAVs

What was recently discovered by us in the military base inside the airport located on the southern coast of Qeshm Island in southern Iran? Is this an attack UAV of the Shahed 171 type or Saegheh 1? It is not a small UAV, as you can see (pay attention to the cars by it).

Qeshm Island, with its strategic location, controls the Straits of Hormuz and all the movement of oil tankers and merchant ships in the area. The island is a short distance from the United Arab Emirates.

We know of at least two attacks by Iranian suicide UAVs against civilian merchant ships sailing in this area. The first occurred on July 30, 2021 against the ship “Mercer Street” and because of the attack, two crew members were killed. The second occurred on November 16, 2022 against the “Zircon” tanker and caused damage to property.

Shahed-171 and Saegheh -1 are very similar to each other. They were “copied” (reverse engineering) and apparently built based on the American RQ-170 Sentinel UAV. In December 2011, Iran managed to shoot down this advanced American UAV completely. A few years later (2014 and 2016) Iran presented the models produced by it: Shahed-171 and Saegheh -1. The great similarity to the American UAV cannot be ignored. Later, the Iranians also introduced another version of Saegheh -1, called Saegheh -2 (also known as Shahed 191).

These are types of UAVs with intelligence, attack, and suicide capabilities. The attack capability is by carrying up to 4 missiles of the “Sadid 1” model (probably a copy of the American “Spike” missile).

Shahed 171
Saegheh 1
Saegheh 2 (also known as “Shahed 191”)

In February 2018, a Saegheh -1 UAV was launched from the T-4 base in Syria toward Israel. It was intercepted by an Apache helicopter of the Israeli Air Force when it entered Israeli territory south of the Sea of Galilee.

To our understanding, the UAV located by us on Qeshm Island was stationed there regardless of the annual joint maneuver (land/air/sea) of the Iranian army (carried out under the name “Zolfaqar-1401”), which began on December 31. In the context of the maneuver, it should be noted that according to Iranian publications, they launched a “Karar” UAV as a warning action, towards an American intelligence plane that came too close and “locked” anti-aircraft missiles on another plane as a warning.

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Tal Beeri

Tal Beeri

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