The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps aerospace force last Thursday used a domestic version of the MQ-1 Predator drone, made by US manufacturer General Atomics during war games in the Persian Gulf, according to IRGC commander Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh.
The MQ-1 Predator was used primarily by the United States Air Force (USAF) and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in the 1990s and 2000s, in offensive operations in Afghanistan and the Pakistani tribal areas. The USAF retired the Predator in 2018.
According to Fars News, Iran currently possesses the biggest collection of captured or downed American and Israeli drones, including the US MQ-1, MQ-9, Shadow, ScanEagle, and RQ-170 as well as the Israeli Hermes.
The exercise was code named “Towards Jerusalem 1,” and the drones reportedly took off from bases as far as 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) away from the target.
Here’s a catch: the distance between the city of Abadan, on the Iraqi border, and Jerusalem, is about 1,700 km (1,056 miles) as the craw flies. Good effort.
#IRGC started massive drone drill called “Towards Jerusalem 1” over southern territorial waters of Persian Gulf.
50 reverse-engineered #RQ170 drones and a number of combat UAVs participated in it. pic.twitter.com/8u8GJnseSK
— hadi??✡️ (@Zolfegar12) March 14, 2019
Apparently, Iran has decided to produce a reverse engineered version of the MQ-1, and last Thursday, the IRGC aerospace force flew tens of those and other reverse-engineered aerial vehicles toward a target on a small island in the Persian Gulf.
The squadron of aerial vehicles included 50 Iranian versions of the RQ-170 Sentinel stealth drones, took off from bases as far as a thousand kilometers away from the operation zone to bomb the target, Fars reported.
Commander of the Khatam al-Anbia Headquarters Major General Gholam Ali Rashid told reporters that the large-scale exercises with such a high number of home-made drones should humiliate the enemies who want to mar his country’s integrity.
Iran downed the stealth RQ-170 drone in December 2011 using electronic warfare techniques, as the aircraft was flying over the Iranian city of Kashmar near the Afghan border. Must have stopped being stealth that day.
According to Fars, the Israeli drone Hermes was intercepted in October 2014 by the IRGC on its way to spy above the Natanz nuclear facility in the central Isfahan province.