Iranian drone threat exposed – the Jerusalem Post

Iranian drones emerge as the new major threat of 2021. Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz has revealed that Iran has attempted to transfer weapons using drones from Syria. He also revealed Iranian bases where drones are based in Chabahar and Qeshm in Iran.

This follows the September revelations about Iran’s training of drone operators. At the time, he said that “Iran is training militias from Iraq, Yemen, Lebanon and Syria to use advanced drones at a base called Kashan.”

The Iranian drone threat has been around for many years. In 2019, the Islamic Republic used drones and cruise missiles to attack the massive Abqaiq energy facility in Saudi Arabia. Iran has transferred drone technology to Houthi rebels in Yemen, Hamas, Shiite militias in Iraq, as well as Hezbollah.

Iranian drones have entered Israeli airspace at least twice: in February 2018, when a T-4 base in Syria flew over an area near Beit She’an and in May 2021 when a drone flew over the T-4 base in Syria. launched from Iraq and flew over Syria to an area as well. near Beit She’an. Israel shot down these drones.

Iran used drones to attack a ship in the Gulf of Oman in July, killing two crew members. He used them in Syria against ISIS and in Iraq to threaten US forces. Iranian-backed militias in Iraq have attacked US forces at facilities in Erbil on several occasions this year.

Iran also used drones to strike US forces in the Tanf garrison in Syria. Recent reports in the US media claimed that the attack was an Iranian attempt to respond to Israeli airstrikes by attacking the United States. For Iran, America and Israel are major adversaries.

Benny Gantz speaks on Iran at the Global Counterterrorism Summit (Credit: ANNA AHRONHEIM)

ALL OF THIS points in the same direction: Iran wants to use drones to target Israel, the United States, Saudi Arabia and other countries. It is also increasingly relying on drones as its primary weapon. This is a change from the focus on ballistic missiles and precision guided munitions. This is a change in technology and can also be a change in precision and lethality.

Drones are different from missiles. They don’t fly on a bow, which means they can be difficult to detect and kill. Drones are also different from cruise missiles in that they can hover, monitor and return to base, or hover over a target.

In Gantz’s speech on Tuesday, he singled out Shahed-type drones, which he said were being used to carry out “sea attacks,” apparently from Qeshm Island in southern Iran. “Iran is also operating outside the region, transferring oil and weapons to Venezuela, activating its Quds forces in South America and trying to infiltrate its influence in Afghanistan.

“Iranian terrorism is exported under the directive of [supreme leader Ayatollah Ali] Khamenei and the top leaders of the regime, ”he said. “One of their key tools is the drone, a precise weapon that can hit strategic targets thousands of miles away. As such, this capability is already endangering Sunni countries, international forces in the Middle East, and countries in Europe and Africa.

He also mentioned the T-4 base in Syria, a base in the desert near Palmyra. It is the same base from which Iran sent a drone in February 2018 to target Israel.

It is also the base to which he allegedly attempted to transfer the air defenses of the 3e Khordad in April 2018. The same system was used by Tehran to bring down an American Global Hawk drone off the Iranian coast in June 2019. The system of air defense could be a threat to the United States and Israel. In October 2021, further reports emerged that the Islamic Republic wanted to move air defenses to Syria.

Gantz said Tehran used a Shahed 141 drone during the February 2018 incident. “Iran not only uses drones to attack, but also to deliver weapons to its proxies.”

The fact that Iranian drones may be able to deliver weapons appears to be a new revelation. While Iran was known to have transferred technology regarding drones, trained operators and displaced parts such as motors or gyroscopes by sea and land to proxies, the transfer of a weapon to the using a drone is a new threat.

THE threat of Iranian drones is complex. Iran has a number of classes of drones that it has developed over the years. The Shahed series includes the 149, nicknamed “Gaza,” and the 129, which are modeled on the American drones Predator and Reaper. Newsweek also mentioned a Shahed 136 that Iran may have moved to Yemen in January. There is also the Shahed 171 Simorgh, which is a copy of the US Sentinel flying wing spy drone.

There are also Iranian Mohajer drones with origins dating back to the 1980s. Some of them have twin tails and are used for surveillance. There is also the Ababil family of drones, which includes the kamikaze drones that have become popular in Yemen and now within Hamas.

Iranian drones have been exported or copied by Iranian proxies and renamed. Hamas uses the Shehab drone, launched from a kind of catapult. The Houthis used the Qasef and Samad suicide drones to perform precision attacks. Iraqi militias use the Sahab.

What matters about Iran’s drone operations is that it relies on this weapon as a kind of instant air force. Iran cannot afford new warplanes and is under sanctions. Drones give Iran plausible denial of carrying out attacks because it is not always easy to prove that it carried out the operations, even if you find pieces of the drone. Drones can also be used to harass ships and make it difficult for opponents to put air defenses all over them. The heightened warnings in Israel about the threat of Iranian drones are part of wider regional tensions.

However, the fact that Iran seems to be spreading this weapon system everywhere from Syria to Yemen represents a new method of how Iran is waging wars. Tehran is also apparently trying to innovate in how drones can be used as threats. This means that US defense officials, such as those in Central Command, were right to warn of the threat of Iranian drones. Now they and other partners in the region, like Israel, will increasingly face this threat.

Iran often bragged about its drones. Now that Israel is highlighting this problem and US officials are mentioning it, Tehran has become more wary. Nonetheless, it is clear that Iran is now training more operators and trying to standardize production more, rather than bragging about new exotic drones it has created by copying those built in other countries. Iran now wants to innovate for itself.

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