The Shahed 129 is an Iranian Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle (UCAV) first publicly unveiled in September 2012. The aircraft is claimed to be capable of carrying out combat and reconnaissance missions with an endurance of 24 hours, making it the first Iranian MALE UAV.
In practice, the Shahed 129 relies on a Ground Control Station (GCS) for direct-control flying but can also take on pre-set waypoint travel through autonomous flight. Range is limited by the communications technology in play but enough to provide a useful patrolling capability for the Iranian Army and Navy services. Its dual-role (reconnaissance and attack) design allows for active patrolling of a given area and direct- attack capability from a single platform. Missile attacks can focus on land-based targets (such as vehicles and fortifications) as well as sea-borne ones like enemy patrol ships – the latter crucial for maintaining control over Persian Gulf water routes. These traits are all very conventional for a UAV/UCAV of this class.
HESA Shahed 129 Technical Specifications
- Service Year: 2012
- Type: Medium-Altitude, Long-Endurance (MALE) Reconnaissance / Light Attack Drone
- National Origin: Iran
- Manufacturer(s): HESA / Shahed Aviation Industries Research Center – Iran
- Production Total: 100
Structural (Crew Space, Dimensions and Weights)
- Operating Crew: 0
- Weight (MTOW): 2,183 lb (990 kg)
Installed Power and Standard Day Performance
- Engine(s): 1 x Conventional engine driving three-bladed propeller in pusher configuration.
- Maximum Speed: 109 mph (175 kph; 94 knots)
- Maximum Range: 186 miles (300 km)
- Service Ceiling: 17,995 feet (5,485 meters; 3.41 miles)
- Rate-of-Climb: 900 feet-per-minute (274 m/min)
Armament / Mission Payload
- 4 x Air-to-surface missiles held underwing (two missiles per hardpoint).
- Global Operators / Customers: Iran; Syria
- Model Variants (Including Prototypes): Shahed 129 – Base Series Designation