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HESA Ababil-3


Intelligence-Surveillance-Reconnaissance (ISR) Drone


Iran | 2008



"The HESA Ababil-3 ISR drone is a further evolution of the original Ababil series - reworked to include a twin-boom configuration among other changes."



Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 06/22/2022 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
The Ababil-3 (also Ababil-III) is a further evolution of the "Ababil" family of Iranian-originated Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) featured elsewhere on this site. The family of drones, developed and manufactured by Iranian local industry, includes the original Ababil-1 "loitering munition" drone, the improved Ababil-2, and the twin-boom Ababil-CH. The Ababil-3 variant is a major reworking of the established design and intended as a dedicated Intelligence-Surveillance-Reconnaissance (ISR) platform at the military or national security levels. Production is thought to have started in 2008 and the system remains in service as of this writing (May 2019).

Due to its physical resemblance to the Denel Dynamics "Seeker" product, the Ababil-3 is suspected to be an Iranian copy/clone of the South African design. Additionally, its internal components appear to be copies/clones of existing Western-originated offerings.

Externally, the Ababil-3 utilizes a proven twin-boom arrangement which seats the tubular fuselage centrally in its design arrangement. The fuselage contains all pertinent systems including the optics set, avionics, powerplant, and fuel stores. The optics set is contained in a ventral "blister" with 360-degree traversal and real-time tracking and reporting possible. The mainplanes were fixed members seated along the dorsal spine of the fuselage providing the needed lift-versus-drag qualities as well as flight control surfaces. The twin booms are slim appendages reaching aft and each is capped by rectangular tailplanes joined by a single horizontal surface (elevator). The aircraft can conduct its ground actions (such as take-off, landing, and general ground-running) by way of a fixed, three-point undercarriage that is wheeled and faired over. Construction of the aircraft includes composites.

Dimensions of the air vehicle include a wingspan of seven meters, making it dimensionally larger than the preceding Ababil-2 mark. Power is derived from a single conventional engine, most likely a copied form of a German design (believed to stem from the Limbach L550E) driving a multi-bladed propeller unit found at the rear of the fuselage component set in a "pusher" configuration. Performance figures include a maximum speed of 120 miles-per-hour and a combat radius out to 62 miles while being capable of reaching altitudes of 16,000 feet.

The Ababil-3 is a known entity above the skies of Iraq, Syria, and Sudan. Several have been lost in both combat-related and accidental actions, the latter owing to either poor training or poor quality of the air vehicle. An American-flown F-16 Fighting Falcon claimed an Ababil-3 on February 25th, 2009 after the aircraft had been trailed across Iraqi airspace for some seventy minutes.

The Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force operates the Ababil-3 exclusively in the ISR role. In Syria, the system is redesignated as "Zagil III-B". To Kataib Hezbollah, the air vehicle becomes the "Basir-1".

Content ©MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.
Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one aircraft design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the HESA Ababil-3 Intelligence-Surveillance-Reconnaissance (ISR) Drone.
1 x Conventional engine (perhaps Limbach L550E or similar) driving a multi-bladed propeller unit at the rear of the fuselage in "pusher" arrangement.
Propulsion
121 mph
195 kph | 105 kts
Max Speed
16,404 ft
5,000 m | 3 miles
Service Ceiling
62 miles
100 km | 54 nm
Operational Range
City-to-City Ranges
Operational range when compared to distances between major cities (in KM).
NYC
 
  LON
LON
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MOS
MOS
 
  TOK
TOK
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Structure
The nose-to-tail, wingtip-to-wingtip physical qualities of the HESA Ababil-3 Intelligence-Surveillance-Reconnaissance (ISR) Drone.
0
(UNMANNED)
Crew
23.0 ft
(7.00 m)
O/A Width
Design Balance
The three qualities reflected below are altitude, speed, and range. The more full the box, the more balanced the design.
RANGE
ALT
SPEED
Armament
Available supported armament and special-mission equipment featured in the design of the HESA Ababil-3 Intelligence-Surveillance-Reconnaissance (ISR) Drone .
None. Mission-equipment to satisfy the ISR role (mainly cameras and sensors).
Variants
Notable series variants as part of the HESA Ababil-3 family line.
Ababil-3 - Base Series Designation.
Operators
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the HESA Ababil-3. Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national aircraft listing.

Total Production: 550 Units

Contractor(s): Iran Aircraft Manufacturing Industrial Company (HESA) - Iran
National flag of Iraq National flag of Iran National flag of Sudan National flag of Syria

[ Iraq; Iran; Sudan; Syria ]
Relative Max Speed
Hi: 150mph
Lo: 75mph
Aircraft Max Listed Speed (121mph).

Graph Average of 113 MPH.
Era Crossover
Pie graph section
Showcasing Aircraft Era Crossover (if any)
Max Alt Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Production Comparison
550
36183
44000
Entry compared against Ilyushin IL-2 (military) and Cessna 172 (civilian) total production.
MACH Regime (Sonic)
Sub
Trans
Super
Hyper
HiHyper
ReEntry
RANGES (MPH) Subsonic: <614mph | Transonic: 614-921 | Supersonic: 921-3836 | Hypersonic: 3836-7673 | Hi-Hypersonic: 7673-19180 | Reentry: >19030
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Image of the HESA Ababil-3
Image copyright www.MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.

Mission Roles
Some designs are single-minded in their approach while others offer a more versatile solution to airborne requirements.
RECONNAISSANCE
UNMANNED
Recognition
Some designs stand the test of time while others are doomed to never advance beyond the drawing board; let history be their judge.
Going Further...
The HESA Ababil-3 Intelligence-Surveillance-Reconnaissance (ISR) Drone appears in the following collections:
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