Iran's annual National Defense Industry Day, held on August 22, became a platform for the Iranian regime to flaunt its latest military advancements. During this event, the Defense and Armed Forces Logistics Ministry unveiled an array of new capabilities, which included the Mohajer-10 attack drone and ballistic missiles. President Ebrahim Raisi praised Iran's resilience against Western sanctions and its considerable progress in military and nuclear domains. These displays of military prowess reflect Iran's strategic agenda, intertwining its advancements with its asymmetrical warfare doctrine. The upcoming "sunset clauses" of the JCPOA in October 2023 enable Iran to flex its missile and drone production and export prowess. This aligns with Iran's proactive promotion of defense industries to international and regional buyers. Notably Iran's recent sale of drones to Russia.
The Iranian regime used its annual National Defense Industry Day (August 22) to brag about new military capabilities. The Defense and Armed Forces Logistics Ministry unveiled the Mohajer-10 attack drone, Sina loitering (kamikaze) drone, and Arman-1 and Arman-2 smart glide bombs. Ababil-5, Karrar and Arash drones were also on display.
The domestically-produced Mohajer-10 (resembles the MQ-9 Reaper manufactured by the United States) was showcased in Tehran during an event attended by President Ebrahim Raisi, who paid a defenseone-and-a-half-hour visit to the country's defense industries and equipment exhibition, praised Iran's ability to reverse the impacts of Western sanctions, claiming it has made "utmost progress" across military and nuclear fields. Raisi described the unveiling of the Mohajer 10 drone, an upgraded model of the Mohajer 6, as the result of the creativity and initiative of the country's young scientists, which is a source of happiness, pride and strengthening the country's dignity. The Mohajer drone was first developed during the eight-year Iraqi war on Iran in the 1980s
Organizations from the air, aerospace, marine, defense, modern defense research, Etka, and electronic industries of Iran and the geographical organization of the Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics of the Islamic Republic of Iran showcased their latest technological advancements at the exhibition.
Iranian state media reported that the Mohajer-10 has a maximum flight duration of 24 hours at an altitude of 7,000 meters, covering an operational radius of 2,000 kilometers with a maximum speed of 210 kilometers per hour. It can carry up to 450 liters of fuel, accommodate cargo weighing up to 300 kilograms, and carry a greater diversity of weapons. In addition, the drone is equipped with electronic warfare and intelligence systems.
Defense Minister Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Ashtiani said that the “drone leap” program, which includes the development of artificial intelligence (AI) along with support, electronic warfare, and signal-collecting tasks, is actively pursuing the creation of the fifth generation of strategic drones in the drone industry.
The Mohajer drone series represents a lineage of unmanned aerial vehicles crafted by Iran, progressively unveiled over the past years. Western intelligence sources, alongside the Ukrainian military, assert that Russia has extensively deployed the Mohajer 6 drone in its attacks on Ukrainian infrastructure and civilian sites.
Arman-1, Weighing 35 kilograms, has an operational range of 20 kilometers and can be launched and fired by various operational drones, while Arman-2 weighs 40 kilograms and has a maximum operational range of 100 kilometers. The smart bomb utilizes electric propulsion and can be employed with various operational drones. Both smart bombs are equipped with the GPS/INS guidance system and can be loaded on the newly unveiled Mohajer-10 drone.
President Raisi instructed the inclusion of the strategic "Khorramshahr-4 " medium-range precision-guided missile and "Haj Qassem"- Named in honor of Qasem Soleimani, IRGC-QF Commander killed in 2020 in an MQ-9 drone strike near Baghdad's international airport - missiles into the Aerospace Force of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC). The Khorramshahr-4 missile has a range of 2,000 kilometers and a 1,500 kg high-explosive payload.
In a series of statements, Iran's military leadership highlighted the country's achievements despite sanctions. Army Chief Major General Abdolrahim Mousavi emphasized the successful development of defensive equipment for border security amid sanctions.
Rear Admiral Alireza Tangsiri, Commander of the IRGC Navy, echoed this sentiment by celebrating the self-reliance of Iran's youth in meeting advanced equipment needs. He emphasized Iran's determination to prevent any hostile actions on its territory.
On Defense Industry Day, Defense Minister Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Ashtiani highlighted key military industry accomplishments. These include extending the ballistic missile range to 2,000 kilometers with improved accuracy and developing air defense systems to counter cruise missiles and low-altitude threats.
Afshin Khajehfard, chief of the Iran Aviation Industries Organization (IAIO), said that the Defense Ministry intends to unveil the unmanned Qaher-313 (Conqueror-313) stealth fighter aircraft in the next months.
Ahead of October 2023 "sunset clauses" when the U.N.is to lift restrictions on Iran’s research, development, and production of ballistic missiles and the ban on Iran’s import and export of missile-related technology, including missiles and drones with a range of 300 kilometers or more, according to the original JCPOA, the Iranian regime showcase its defense industry to potential international and regional buyers. Iran also displayed its various drones and missiles during the recent Russian Army 2023 defense exhibition (MCIS 2023) held in Moscow (14-20 August).
President Raiasi said during the ceremony, “Yesterday, they viewed us as a consumer and a country in need. Today, they see us as a producer who can have much to say in the defense and military industries,” Raisi warned that Iran continues to seek friendly relations with all nations but will not hesitate to “cut off any hand” that wishes to invade Iran.
Iran has successfully apprehended American drones or fragments thereof. On December 2011, Iran took control of an RQ-170 Sentinel operated by the CIA. Iran claims drone versions; the drone had been deployed to surveil Iranian nuclear facilities but accidentally entered Iranian airspace from neighboring Afghanistan. Iran's subsequent reverse-engineering efforts resulted in developing their own modified drone versions. Another event unfolded in 2019 when Iran intercepted and downed a U.S. Navy RQ-4A Global Hawk drone in the Strait of Hormuz.
Iran has additionally conveyed threatening messages to Israel, echoing the sentiments articulated in Nasrallah's recent speech, and issued a warning that it can revert Israel "to the Stone Age." This response followed a prior threat expressed by Defense Minister Galant. Iranian state-run media released a video of a drone with Persian and Hebrew messages that said, "Prepare your bunkers." (showing Mohajer-10 over Dimona nuclear reactor in Israel) The video also boasted that Western and Israeli media closely monitor Iran's latest military capabilities.
Iran's strategic approach revolves around bolstering its arsenal with an array of drones and precision weaponry, constituting a core element of its strategy for asymmetric warfare. Iran shares a portion of these capabilities with its proxies in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and Yemen, which it views as the frontline in the struggle against Israel and the United States. Concurrently, Iran maintains ties with Russia, alongside its commitment to transferring weaponry to Russia to be used in the war against Ukraine. As sanctions related to missile exports are set to be lifted within the next two months per the nuclear agreement's sunset clauses, Iran stands poised to equip additional "clients."
Moreover, Iran and its ally Hezbollah seek to portray Israel in a vulnerable light, leveraging statements from former high-ranking officials in Israel's military and politics leading the protest against the Judiciary reforms, particularly against military service. This approach underscores what Iran perceives as the IDF's and Israeli society's fragility.
Simultaneously, Iran accentuates its military and political relationships, exemplified through its associations with Russia, China, and Saudi Arabia, and renewed contacts with Egypt. This contrasts with what they consider to be the diminished influence of Israel and the United States within the regional and international arena.
Iran capitalizes on the perceived tepid responses of the United States to its provocations against American forces in the region. Despite reinforcement, these American forces continue to quell recurring Iranian provocations. This could be a calculated reaction to avoid jeopardizing negotiations with Iran toward a scaled-down nuclear agreement and forthcoming agenda items over the next two months, including the potential release of American detainees in exchange for thawing American assets. In any case, Iran sees this as a weakness and will continue to challenge the American forces in the region.