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Western military officials express concerned over Iran's growing interest in UAVs

Iran plans to test unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and short-range missiles as the country looks for new resources to try and pressure the western world.  The new UAV venture was recently introduced during a press conference in Iran, with the country also announcing its interested in unmanned helicopters.

Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi confirmed the use of long-range UAVs in Iran's growing fleet of aircraft.  The country confirmed in early spring that it wanted to develop UAVs, with early development starting in February.

"The long-range UAV named 'Karrar' will be unveiled on this day," Vahidi noted during a press conference earlier in the week.   

The country also has a short-range UAV in development that will fly 400 to 500 meters in altitude and should be designed as a "stealth aircraft."

The United States military has opened up UAV technology to allies, but what they have access to is supposed to be relatively restricted.  Meanwhile, Iran's initial announcement of UAV development drew immediate criticism from some western military leaders weary of Iranian unmanned technological developments.

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates noted Iran could create "difficulties" in Iraq and Afghanistan for the U.S. and coalition forces.  Even though Iran will be unable to compete head-to-head with U.S.-made UAVs, there is concern Iran could loan UAV use to organized terror groups.

Since steadily building its military effectiveness since the early 1990s, Iran has attempted to reassure the world that its development of tanks, missiles, fighter jets and armored military transports are for defensive purposes only.





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