By: Chris O'Shea
This week, Iran announced that it had created one the biggest and the best unmanned aerial vehicles in the world to be used for its military. That's right, the Islamic Republic with shaky relations to the United States says it has some impressive drone technology that could tip the balance of power in the region. And yet the news hardly registered in the international community. There's wasn't a single breaking news alert or panicky "This just in!" in regards to the announcement. In fact, while such a bold and powerful claim would normally raise a multitude of questions and concerns, only one came to the minds of people familiar with Iranian ascertains of technological breakthroughs: Is Iran lying again?
It all started on Monday, when scientists at Iranian Aircraft Manufacturing Industries, which is directly connected to the country's Defense Ministry, unveiled an aerial drone that they're calling "Fotros." According to the them, the remotely piloted aircraft can stay in the air for 30 consecutive hours and cover about 1,250 miles, which is comparable to the best flight capability of US' drones, and enough of a range to cover most of the Middle East.
Fotros is certainly impressive sounding. The drone, according to Iranian officials, was the result of revamping a captured US drone. The military was able to recreate the drone, and then make it better. In an ominous statement, an Iranian military official said that Fotros is ready to go, and cause general havoc. "This drone is able to carry out reconnaissance missions and carry air-to-surface rockets for combat operations," the official explained.
Then, just to rub other countries' noses in it, the official added "Sanctions by enemies can't create an obstacle in the path of progress for our defense industries." Consider us impressed/worried. Sort of. The problem with Iran's claims is that they seem to do this sort of thing every so often.
Cut back in April of this year, when Ali Razeghi, an Iranian scientist and Iran's managing director of its Centre for Strategic Inventions (and thus not some wacko off the street), claimed that he had invented a time machine. Well, technically, he called it "The Aryayek Time Traveling Machine" and it didn't actually allow you travel in time. Instead the device was supposed to be able to predict the future via a printed report. All a person would need to do is touch the machine, and it would "predict five to eight years of the future life of any individual, with 98 percent accuracy," Razeghi explained to the The Telegraph at the time. Uh, sure.
Two months before that, Iranian officials announced they had created an amazing stealth fighter jet, the Qaher 313. But when photos of the exotic and powerful plane were unveiled to the world, it was quickly shown to be quite nice looking, but that was it. In fact, aviation experts said it was missing some rather key parts, including the usual rivets and bolts that all aircraft feature and an engine exhaust nozzle/afterburner that would keep the Qaher 313's engine from melting the rest of the plane...Yeah, that's not going to work.
Oh, then there were the times that Iran also claimed that they created a rocket so dangerous that it "Made all the enemies' destroyers and ships retreated from near our borders" and a Islamic Google Earth. None of that actually happened. So yes, the Fotros sounds great. But we're having a hard time believing that it exists. But hey, at least Iran keeps trying.
[Pic via Flickr - David Smith]