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Russian production of Iranian Shahed 129 drones suspected

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In a recent development, a new serial number has been spotted on the Iranian Shahed 129 drones, indicating the possibility of their production in Russia. Previously, the serial numbers of these Iranian drones began with the letter “M” and ended with a numerical designation exceeding 1,200.

The Shahed 129, also known as the “witness,” is a single-engine medium-altitude long-endurance unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) designed by Shahed Aviation Industries for the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). Similar in size and shape to the American MQ-1 Predator, it is widely regarded as one of the most capable drones in the Iranian military’s arsenal.

Capable of combat and reconnaissance missions, the Shahed 129 boasts an impressive endurance of 24 hours. It has been utilized for airstrikes during the Syrian Civil War and for border patrol along Iran’s eastern border. Furthermore, it is expected to play a pivotal role in Iran’s high-end UAV fleet for the foreseeable future.

Interestingly, reports indicate that Russia has placed an order for 46 drones of various models from Iran. Ukrainian officials confirmed that Russian forces have been operating these drones, including older models of the Shahed 129, during combat over Ukraine. This development raises questions about Russia’s intentions and their potential use of these drones in ongoing conflicts.

The general characteristics of the Shahed 129 include a crewless design, a payload capacity of 400 kg, and dimensions measuring 8 meters in length, 16 meters in wingspan, and 3.1 meters in height. Powered by a Rotax 914 four-cylinder, four-stroke aircraft engine with 75 kW (100 shp), it features a three-bladed propeller.

In terms of performance, the Shahed 129 can cruise at a speed of 150 km/h (93 mph) and has a combat range of 1,700 km (1,100 mi) with a ferry range of 3,400 km (2,100 mi). It boasts a service ceiling of 7,300 meters (24,000 ft) and is equipped with armament including four Sadid-345 PGM bombs. The drone’s avionics consist of an Oghab-6 electro-optical/infrared sensor and a laser range finder.

With the suspected domestic production of the Shahed 129 drones by Russia, the geopolitical landscape in the region could witness significant shifts. It remains to be seen how this development will impact ongoing conflicts and international relations.

We will continue to monitor the situation closely and provide updates as more information becomes available.

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