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IRGC unveils manportable loitering munition

Miraj-521 manportable loitering munitions displayed during the IRGC Ground Forces exercise near the Azerbaijani border. (

Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) unveiled the Meraj-521 tube-launched loitering munition during an exercise held in northwest Iran from 17 to 20 October.

Iranian media coverage showed three munitions and launchers with a configuration similar to the AeroVironment Switchblade 300, which is launched from a tube like a mortar using compressed air and then unfolds two sets of wings, vertical stabilisers, and a pusher propeller. Unlike the tubular Switchblade, the Meraj-521 has a square cross-section.

The Iranian media coverage also showed a mannequin holding the system's ground control system, which had a flip-up screen, presumably for the feed from a camera carried by the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), as well as control sticks so the operator can steer it into a target.

Iranian news agencies cited Ali Kohestani, the head of the IRGC Ground Forces' research and development department, as saying the Meraj-521 has a range of 5 km, an endurance of 5โ€“15 minutes, and can carry warheads weighing 500, 700, and 1,000 g. He did not say how heavy the complete system is but said it is now available for rapid response units, including the IRGC's elite Saberin Brigade.

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