Iran Unveils Drone Resembling Russian 'Lancet'

Iran Unveils Drone Resembling Russian ‘Lancet’

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has revealed images of a new Iranian-made loitering munition or kamikaze drone that bears a striking resemblance to Russia’s Lancet loitering munition. Loitering munitions, also known as suicide drones or exploding drones, are aerial weapons designed to loiter around a target area until an enemy target is identified and then crash into it upon impact.

The Russian Lancet loitering munition has played a major role in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine over the past two years. These deadly kamikaze drones can be deployed rapidly, are difficult to shoot down, and have been used extensively by Russian forces to strike Ukrainian military and civilian targets.

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Iran is no stranger to loitering munition technology either. The Iranian armed forces have previously developed and deployed several types of exploding drones like the Meraj 521 and Sina kamikaze drones produced by the IRGC ground forces and defense ministry respectively.

During last year’s Great Prophet 18 military exercises, the IRGC ground forces showcased their investment in suicide drone capabilities by unveiling the Shahed 131 and Shahed 136 loitering munitions. The images of this newly unveiled but unnamed Iranian kamikaze drone indicate Iran’s continued efforts to advance its loitering munition arsenal.

While details are still limited, the new Iranian loitering drone appears nearly identical in design to the Russian Lancet. This suggests Iran may have studied the Lancet closely or potentially received technical assistance from Russia on the drone’s development.

The proliferation of affordable loitering munitions is a major emerging threat on modern battlefields. Their precision strike capabilities and expendable nature allow militaries to accurately hit targets with minimized risk compared to manning aircraft or firing missiles. However, their use against civilian populations has stirred international outcry.

As Iran continues expanding its domestically-produced kamikaze drone forces, it will be a key military capability to monitor, especially given Iran’s arming of proxies like Hamas and Hezbollah with similar drone technology. The new Lancet lookalike signals Iran’s ongoing drive to develop a diverse range of loitering munitions for offensive operations.

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