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Ghods Ababil (Swallow)

Iran (1995)
Picture of Ghods Ababil (Swallow) Reconnaissance Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)

The Iranian Ghods Abibil UAV is sent airborne via a launch rail fitted to the back of an army utility truck.


Detailing the development and operational history of the Ghods Ababil (Swallow) Reconnaissance Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV).  Entry last updated on 7/6/2017. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) were once considered primarily the domains of Israel and the United States Military. Throughout the 1990's, however, every major military power has seen fit to fund their own UAV developments for a variety of battlefield-related services - from reconnaissance, surveillance and assault. UAVs present some optimal advantages even in the age of digital communications and satellites: they are relatively cheap to produce, operate and maintain when compared to fielding a modern multi-role fighter, they do not require the senseless exposure of a pilot to enemy air and ground defenses and they provide real-time battlefield assessment capabilities (satellites must be in orbit over the area of the earth to be monitored, with this option reoccurring only once every 24 hours). In this way, UAVs are really the method of warfare for the near foreseeable future and beyond.

The Ababil takes on a conventional aerodynamic form, reflecting more the look of a winged rocket than anything else. The body is a tubular frame capped with a nose cone. Wing canards are high-mounted at the forward section of the fuselage while the main wing spans are low-mounted fitting to the vehicles extreme aft. The engine is rear mounted and features a "pusher" type two-bladed propeller system (conventional propeller and engines "pull" and are therefore traditionally mounted forward of the fuselage or in wing nacelles). A single vertical tail fin rounds out the design elements. Performance specifications report maximum range of up to 150 miles with a radius of just over 93 miles. The service ceiling is listed at 14,000 feet with a top speed of up to 186 miles-per-hour. This UAV system is not going to win any design awards based on looks alone but its operational involvement in the region has garnered the attention of the United States Department of Defense and regional American allies.
The Ababil is launched via a pneumatic-type launcher from the rear of a specially-configured Benz-911 utility truck. The UAV is also capable of being launched at sea with the use of rockets. Though no visible undercarriage is apparent, the Ababil is recovered via skids and an Iran Aircraft Manufacturing Industries parachute system. Operationally, the Ababil can sport a variety of surveillance-minded equipment configurations depending on the Ababil model and its defined mission role. An integrated communications package allows for a direct datalink between the ground-based operator and airborne vehicle system. The Shahid Noroozi guidance system is an indigenous Iranian product while an IR-based flare system along with a CCD Television camera are part of the internal workings. In the assault role, the Ababil can also sport an 88lb warhead munition. This particular version takes the warhead payload all the way to its target resulting in the entire loss of the UAV (unlike American Predators/Reapers that air-launch their Hellfire missiles). A few other specialized variants are known to exist.

As of this writing, the Ababil has been fielded by both Iran and Hezbollah. Hezbollah received 12 examples from Iran (according to Israeli sources) to which three were shot down by Israeli fighters in the 2006 Lebanon War. An Iranian Ababil was also shot down by a United States General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon over Iraq on March 16th, 2009, just 60 miles northeast of Baghdad near Balad Ruz. Speculation persists as to the UAV's motives in the area but it did nothing to lessen the tension between Washington and Tehran.

The 120 production example quantity stated on our website is an estimated value.






Our Data Modules allow for quick visual reference when comparing a single entry against contemporary designs. Areas covered include general ratings, speed assessments, and relative ranges based on distances between major cities.

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Relative Maximum Speed Rating
Hi: 200mph
Lo: 100mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (186mph).

    Graph average of 150 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
NYC
 
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LON
 
  PAR
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  SYD
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  LAX
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  NYC
Graph showcases the Ghods Ababil (Swallow)'s operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
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Pie graph section
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Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production Comparison
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units
100
100


  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.


Altitude Visualization
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Origin: Iran
Year: 1995
Type: Reconnaissance Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)
Manufacturer(s): Ghods Aviation Industries - Iran
Production: 100
Global Operators:
Iran; Lebanon; Hezbollah; Sudan
Historical Commitments / Honors:

Military lapel ribbon for Operation Allied Force
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Britain
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Midway
Military lapel ribbon for the Berlin Airlift
Military lapel ribbon for the Chaco War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cuban Missile Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the French-Indochina War
Military lapel ribbon for the Golden Age of Flight
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Iran-Iraq War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1982 Lebanon War
Military lapel ribbon for the Malayan Emergency
Military lapel ribbon for the attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Six Day War
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Suez Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for Warsaw Pact of the Cold War-era
Military lapel ribbon for the WASP (WW2)
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.
Measurements and Weights icon
Structural - Crew, Dimensions, and Weights:
Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the Ghods Ababil (Swallow) model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.

Operational
CREW


Personnel
0


Dimension
LENGTH


Feet
9.51 ft


Meters
2.9 m


Weight
EMPTY


Pounds
183 lb


Kilograms
83 kg

Engine icon
Installed Power - Standard Day Performance:
Conventional piston engine driving a two-bladed propeller blade in pusher configuration.

Performance
SPEED


Miles-per-Hour
186 mph


Kilometers-per-Hour
300 kph


Knots
162 kts


Performance
RANGE


Miles
149 mi


Kilometers
240 km


Nautical Miles
130 nm


Performance
CEILING


Feet
13,999 ft


Meters
4,267 m


Miles
2.65 mi

Supported Weapon Systems:

Armament - Hardpoints (1):

OPTIONAL:
Guided Explosive Warhead Payload (the entire UAV is lost in the action).
Variants: Series Model Variants
• Ababil - Base Series Designation
• Ababil-B
• Ababil-S
• Ababil-T - Short- to Medium-Range Attack Model
• Ababil-II
• Ababil-III
• Ababil-V - Tactical Medium-Range Reconnaissance and Surveillance.