Iran shows off Kaman-22 combat drone for first time

At a military parade in Tehran on Monday, Iran publicly unveiled its Kaman-22 drone which is able to reach Israel.

The Kaman-22 is a long-range and strategic multi-functional combat drone with an operational range of over 3,000 kms., capable of flying at an altitude of 8,000 metres for more than 24 hours.

According to Iran’s Fars News, the drone is capable of carrying several types of cargo as well as four guided missiles, two unguided bombs and other munitions. It can be used for a range of missions, including patrol, reconnaissance, data gathering, imaging, and aerial combat with a payload of smart weapons.

The drone is similar to the American Predator MQ-1 and Reaper MQ-9 and was first unveiled last February. It’s an upgrade to Iran’s Kaman-12 drone that was first introduced in September 2020.

The upgraded drone has new combat, optical and electronic warfare systems.

The Islamic Republic’s defence industry is robust, and Tehran is constantly working to improve and manufacture systems and platforms that can threaten Israel and other countries in the region.

It has been building its fleet of homegrown armed and unarmed unmanned aircraft since 1984 and has 48 different models with very advanced operational capabilities.

Iran’s drone army was built to compensate for its loss of aerial strength in order to counter Israel’s air superiority. Senior Israeli officials have admitted that the drones are challenging the country’s air defences in terms of identifying and intercepting them.

Iran has been launching drones and other unmanned aerial systems at Israel since 2018 and the increase in Tehran’s efforts has placed the threats such systems pose in the top five problems facing the Israel Air Force.

Last year Israeli F-35s downed two Iranian Shahed-197 drones that were heading toward the Jewish state. Downed outside of Israel’s borders, the drones were collected by the armed forces of a regional country and delivered to Israel for further inspection.

Israel’s war-between-wars campaign has recently been specifically targeting Iran’s drones, as six Israeli drones struck the Kermanshah airbase, destroying hundreds of Iranian UAVs.

In November, Defence Minister Benny Gantz said that the threat posed by the Islamic Republic confronts not only Israel but the entire world.

“One of the key tools is UAVs and precision weapons, which can reach strategic targets within thousands of kilometres, and thus this capability is already endangering Sunni countries, international troops in the Middle East and countries in Europe and Africa,” Gantz said.

Senior Israel Air Force officers confirmed that Israel is working to counter the Iranian drone threat in cooperation with regional countries.

The officers said that “regional partnership is unprecedented” and has included aerial drills and even operations.