The naval wing of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) has taken delivery of 188 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that includes three new types that can take off from the force’s small boats, the IRGC announced on 23 September.
An Ababil-3 is seen next to a fast attack craft with an Ababil-2 mounted on its roof where a multiple-rocket launcher is normally fitted. The boat is around 11 m long. (Sepah News)
It released low-resolution photographs on its website and news agencies showing the UAVs that were displayed at its main naval base at Bandar Abbas during the handover ceremony. These included at least 15 Mohajer-6s, a type that can carry four small guided bombs and is already in service with the IRGC Aerospace Force; 12 Ababil-3s, a common Iranian surveillance type, and 27 Yasirs, a type that resembles the widely used Scaneagle.
The photographs also showed more than 30 UAVs that appeared to be Arabil-2s, a type that can carry a surveillance system or a warhead and has been extensively used in Yemen in recent years. Some were seen mounted on small boats, suggesting they could be brought up to launch-speed at sea to give the IRGC’s attack craft a new long-range guided weapon, albeit a slow one with a small warhead.
The IRGC named the three new vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) UAVs as the Sepehr, Shahab-2, and Hodod-4 but did not identify them. The photographs showed two types of multicopter and a larger UAV with four vertical-lift rotors in addition to wings and a primary pusher propeller.