Iranian engineers have been hard at work in building up local Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) stocks for the military. This has included regular Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance (ISR) types as well as armed, munitions-delivery Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle (UCAV) platforms. The Ghods "Mohajer" (also spelled as "Mahajer") represents one of the former as it primarily serves as an intelligence-collecting system. It has been taken on by the forces of Iran, Sudan, Syria, Venezuela (the Mohajer-2 locally-produced as the SANZT "Arpia") as well as Hezbollah forces. Four major variants mark its production and service run to date with subvariants being developed as well.
The need for an ISR system came about during the bloody Iran-Iraq conflict of the 1980s which pushed Iranian industry to develop a local solution for its Army. This resulted in a collection of prototypes emerging in the early part of the decade to which operational forms were then used in actual war zones between the two neighboring countries. The original series was named "Mohajer-1" and began the line of Mohajer UAVs still in service today (2016). Beyond its use as a ISR platform, it is said that some models operated in the conflict were, in fact, armed with rockets for assailing ground targets - in essence evolving the Mohajer into a UCAV with broader tactical usefulness.
From this work came a more advanced form offering greater operational range and improved navigation. The model was designated as "Mohajer-2" and took over production for use in the Iranian Army. As built, the Mohajer-2 was given a length of 9.6 feet and a wingspan of 12.5 feet. Its propulsion system consisted of a WAE-342 series 2-stroke engine delivering 25 horsepower while driving a two-bladed propeller in a "pusher" configuration (the propeller seated at the rear of the airframe). The fuselage was largely tubular in its general shape with straight wing mainplanes seated near midships (displaying clipped wing tips as well). Twin booms made up the empennage and a joining horizontal plane was featured between each vertical tail unit. Optics were fitted to a rotating blister assembly seen under the nose of the aircraft. Performance included a maximum speed of over 100 miles per hour, a range out to 90 miles and a service ceiling up to 11,000 feet. Endurance is about six hours of flight time.
Additional advancements to the line inevitably produced the "Mohajer-3" which further increased range and over-battlefield capabilities. Still further work begat an even more advanced version - this becoming the "Mohajer-4" - which, itself, has gone on to produce a pair of subvariants all its own. While retaining the general form and function of the Mohajer-2 line, the Mohajer-4 sports a boxier fuselage and three-legged undercarriage. The wing mainplanes also showcase wingtips cranked upwards.
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