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HESA Shahed-129 (Eye-Witness)

Medium-Altitude, Long-Endurance (MALE) Reconnaissance / Light Attack Drone

Iran | 2012

"The HESA Shahed-129 reconnaissance Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle was introduced by Iran during 2012 and is in operational service today."

Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one aircraft design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the HESA Shahed-129 Medium-Altitude, Long-Endurance (MALE) Reconnaissance / Light Attack Drone.
1 x Conventional engine driving three-bladed propeller in pusher configuration.
109 mph
175 kph | 94 kts
Max Speed
17,995 ft
5,485 m | 3 miles
Service Ceiling
186 miles
300 km | 162 nm
Operational Range
900 ft/min
274 m/min
The nose-to-tail, wingtip-to-wingtip physical qualities of the HESA Shahed-129 Medium-Altitude, Long-Endurance (MALE) Reconnaissance / Light Attack Drone.
19.7 ft
6.00 m
O/A Length
34.4 ft
(10.50 m)
O/A Width
2,183 lb
(990 kg)
Available supported armament and special-mission equipment featured in the design of the HESA Shahed-129 (Eye-Witness) Medium-Altitude, Long-Endurance (MALE) Reconnaissance / Light Attack Drone provided across 2 hardpoints.
4 x Air-to-surface missiles held underwing (two missiles per hardpoint).

Hardpoints Key:

Not Used
Notable series variants as part of the HESA Shahed-129 (Eye-Witness) family line.
Shahed-129 - Base Series Designation.
Shahed-123 - Original design on which the Model 129 is based on.
Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 07/13/2022 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.

Iranian industry has been actively involved in development of drone aircraft for some time now - reengineering foreign types as well as evolving all-new indigenous designs with mixed levels of success. The HESA Shahed-129 series is a dual-role platform capable of reconnaissance work and attack. It was developed by the Shahed Aviation Industries Research Center of Iran with production handled by HESA (and based in the earlier "Shahed-123" which became a redesignation of the "HESA-100"). It appeared during September 2012, remains in active production and may have been procured by the Syrian government for its long-running civil war campaign begun in 2011. The Shahed-129 was debuted in mid-2012.

Externally, the Shahed-129 seems to mimic the form of foreign types like the Israeli Hermes 450 and British Watchkeeper UAVs and can be assumed to offer similar over-battlefield capabilities. A tubular fuselage is used to house the engine, fuel stores, avionics and reconnaissance-minded mission payload. A "blister" assembly housing the primary optics fit is set under the aircraft, aft of the nose section, offering unobstructed 360-degree views. The wings are shoulder-mounted along the fuselage sides and of a straight design with each supporting a single hardpoint. The hardpoints hold a twin-rail launcher to carry up to two Sadid-1 missiles each - giving the Shahed-129 a four-shot capability. The undercarriage is wheeled though fixed in place during flight (as in the American Predator). The tail is made up of two outward-canted vertical fins and the engine drives a three-bladed unit in a "pusher" configuration at rear. The air scoop is noted under the tail.

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.

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Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the HESA Shahed-129 (Eye-Witness). Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national aircraft listing.

Total Production: 100 Units

Contractor(s): Iran Aircraft Manufacturing Industrial Company (HESA) / Shahed Aviation Industries Research Center - Iran
National flag of Iran National flag of Russia National flag of Syria

[ Iran; Russia; Syria ]
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Image of the HESA Shahed-129 (Eye-Witness)
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2 / 3
Image of the HESA Shahed-129 (Eye-Witness)
Image from the United States Department of Defense DIVDS imagery database; Shahed-123.
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Image of the HESA Shahed-129 (Eye-Witness)
Image from the United States Department of Defense DIVDS imagery database; Shahed-123.

Going Further...
The HESA Shahed-129 (Eye-Witness) Medium-Altitude, Long-Endurance (MALE) Reconnaissance / Light Attack Drone appears in the following collections:
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