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Iran rolls out homemade drone

Aug. 23, 2010 at 11:04 AM   |   Comments

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TEHRAN, Aug. 23 (UPI) -- Iran unveiled its first domestically built long-range unmanned missile-carrying drone as the Bushehr nuclear power plant went online, the government said.

Engineers began loading fuel Saturday into the Bushehr nuclear reactor, which is operated by a Russian atomic energy company. The plant should begin producing electricity within a month.

The controversial decision to move ahead with nuclear technology was met with the unveiling of the Karrar long-range drone. The drone is capable of carrying a missile payload and is the first such drone manufactured domestically, Iran's state-funded broadcaster Press TV reports.

Iranian engineers said the drone, whose name means "striker" in Farsi, can carry 400 pounds of weapons more than 600 miles.

The U.S. Defense Department declined to comment on the drone, though the Pentagon is typically silent on Iran's frequent weapons claims, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The Journal said it was unclear how Iran would navigate the drone over its stated range given limits in satellite technology.

Iran's state television added that the military launched two production lines for two other high-tech drones intended for reconnaissance and bombing missions.

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