Iran has inducted bomb-carrying drones into its military, Defence Minister Amir Hatami said. Appearing on national television, he said the country has three types of bomb-carrying drones with a range of 1,500km.
The drones are capable of monitoring the enemy's movement from a "considerable distance", Hatami said during a delivery ceremony in Tehran which was broadcast on TV. The unmanned vehicles, equipped to carry bombs and missiles, can fly at an altitude of 45,000 feet (13,716 metres).
Hatami said the fleet includes multi-role unmanned aerial vehicles, Karrar ("strike") jet-powered target drones, and Ababil 3 surveillance and reconnaissance drones. The drones were developed in the country with the help of the domestic defence industry and local universities.
The event on Saturday was attended by Defence Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami, Commander of Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force (IRIAF) Brigadier General Aziz Nasirzadeh, and Commander of Army Air Defence Force Brigadier General Alireza Sabahifard.
A key element in border surveillance
The Iranian military industry will be building the drones and will play a key role in border surveillance. The UAVs will also be part of the surveillance in the Strait of Hormuz. The induction of the drones comes amid tensions between the United States and Iran. Not long ago, Iran fired missiles at US bases in Iraq.
Hatami blamed the US for the tensions in the Middle East, calling the US presence in the region "illegal and aggressive".
The Tehran Times quoted Hatami as saying: "These drones will help to have a safer Iran and perform air defense operations with more power."
Previously, Saudi Arabia had said that Iran was behind the attacks using drones and missiles on Saudi oil installations in October last year.