Iran ready to rollout new drone

Jan. 30, 2012 at 11:01 AM
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TEHRAN, Jan. 30 (UPI) -- An Iranian engineer said the country was getting ready to unveil its latest unmanned vehicle roughly one month after Tehran claimed it shot down a CIA drone.

An Iranian aeronautics engineer said Iran is set to unveil a domestically constructed unmanned aerial vehicle, dubbed the A1, Iran's state-funded broadcaster Press TV reports. The vehicle has a maximum flight ceiling of 10,000 feet and can carry an 11-pound payload.

In early December, Iranian military officials told the semiofficial Fars News Agency that Iranian forces shot down a RQ-170 "unmanned American spy plane" near the eastern border with Afghanistan.

Tehran maintained the drone was shot down with the help of what Fars described as an electronic warfare unit in the Iranian military. The Iranian government also claimed this wasn't the first time it shot down a U.S. drone over its airspace.

Tensions between Iran and its adversaries are intensifying after Tehran said it may close key oil shipping lanes in the Strait of Hormuz. Many Iranian critics say Iran is working on technology needed to produce a nuclear weapon and U.S. President Barack Obama, during his State of the Union address, said he'd "take no options off the table" to prevent Iran from that aim.

Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.

Iran's Fars News Agency confirmed during the weekend that a six-member team from the International Atomic Energy Agency arrived in the country. The IAEA last year said there may be some military aspects to Iran's nuclear program.

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