Iran claims to be mass-producing drones armed with ‘smart bombs’

Iran’s defense ministry claimed Monday that the government is mass-producing a new type of weaponized drone that can carry smart bombs that are capable of making precision strikes.

Iranian defense officials, in the midst of a major military buildup that is being financed, in part, by billions in U.S. dollars provided as a windfall for the landmark nuclear deal, said that the new advanced drones will be going to the elite Revolutionary Guards Corps, or IRGC, which is coordinating war efforts throughout the Middle East. That includes Syria, where forces backed by Iran have attacked American troops.

Dubbed the Mohajer 6, the new drones are “equipped with the smart Qa’em precision-striking bombs and different electro-optical explorers and different warheads, [and] can trace, intercept and destroy the target,” said Iranian Defense Minister and Brig. Gen. Amir Hatami during a speech touting the new weapons.

Iranian military officials also claimed that the new drones “can destroy different fixed and mobile targets in day and [during night] missions, and can infiltrate various types of installations and facilities.”

It’s likely that the drones will be sent to places like Syria, where Iran-built drones have already been used to assault U.S. forces. [source]

Analysis: It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Iranians are developing this capability — they are certainly not the only ones. What’s disconcerting is that the U.S. Army is behind the curve on electronic warfare capabilities, and is now playing catch-up with near-peer competitors in the field. That matters because recent reports suggest that the Russians — who have excelled at EW capabilities — have fended off drone-swarm attacks against the bases in Syria using electronic warfare systems. 

EW, along with lasers and other unconventional weaponry, will increasingly become vital tools in drone defense as the threat matures.

Jon E. Dougherty is a political, foreign policy and national security analyst and reporter with nearly 30 years of experience in both fields. A U.S. Army veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom, he holds BA in Political Science from Ashford University and an MA in National Security Studies/Intelligence Analysis from American Military University.

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