Iran unveils jet-powered Karrar drone armed with Majid air defense missile


On October 22, Tasnim News reported that Iranian military specialists have successfully modified a domestically-produced surface-to-air missile for compatibility with the 'Karrar' jet-powered drone. Brigadier General Alireza Sabahifard, Commander of the Iranian Army's Air Defense Force, announced on Sunday that the Karrar drone is now equipped with a heat-seeking air-to-air missile that has a reach of 8 kilometers.
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Iranian Karrar UAVs armed with a Majid missile now turned into an air-to-air weapon (Picture source: Tasnim/Erfan Kouchari)


The development comes after 18 months of rigorous research and testing, during which the Air Defense team altered the AD-08 “Majid” surface-to-air missile. The missile's warhead is now capable of neutralizing a variety of aerial threats.

Previously, the Karrar drone had been utilized for radar and radio alerts against foreign aircraft nearing Iranian airspace or coastal waters. The drone is part of Iran's new generation of aerial technology, specifically designed for high-altitude interception tasks, thus expanding the scope of the country's air defense operations.

The Karrar drone, unveiled in 2010, was developed during President Ahmadinejad's tenure and is a reverse-engineered model based on the American Beechcraft MQM-107 Streaker, a 1970s-era target drone, David Israel comments in Jewish Press. In 2021, the Karrar drones were fitted with Shahab-e-Saqeb missiles aimed at aerial targets.

The drone was initially revealed on August 23, 2010, a day following the inauguration of a nuclear reactor in Bushehr. It was branded as Iran's first long-range unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) capable of bombing operations.

Reports indicate that the Karrar has been exported to Hezbollah as early as 2014. This is one reason among many why Israel has been carrying out airstrikes in Syria—to target Hezbollah's stockpiles including the Karrar drone. Bloomberg reported in November 2020 that Iran had begun arming the Karrar drones with warheads.

Though the weapon may have limitations, its potential effectiveness cannot be underestimated, especially if it manages to hover over civilian areas deep within Israel.


Defense News October 2023