December of 2011 saw the jet-powered American Lockheed RQ-170 "Sentinel" unmanned, low-observable stealth reconnaissance drone downed by Iranian forces, its advanced technology now claimed by the country and reformed to become the Shahed Saegheh ("Thunderbolt"). By all accounts, the Saegheh is a direct Iranian copy of the American counterpart in both form and function, with the Iranian vision adding an attack capability. A first-flight of this drone was had during November of 2014 and service introduction followed thereafter in October of 2016. It is operated solely by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Aerospace Force (IRGCASF).
The aircraft is manufactured by Shahed Aviation Industries of Iran.
The Sentinel has been wholly rebuilt by Iranian engineers, complete with its arrowhead-like, tail-less planform - the blended wing-body producing a true "flying wing" design. The engine sits atop the shape, embedded into the aft portion of the fuselage with an intake positioned dorsally for the air-breathing engine within. A pair of bulges straddle the intake hump and a wheeled, retractable tricycle undercarriage allows for ground-running.
The Saegheh has been built into several evolutionary iterations: primary marks include the "Saegheh-1" of 2016, reportedly (though unverified) with support for 4 x Anti-Tank, Guided Missiles (ATGMs). The "Saegheh-2" (alternatively known as the "Shahed 191") with vehicle-launched capability and twin-missile support.
Beyond these are sub-variants of note: Shahed 141 is a non-jet, 40% scale version of the RQ-170 and driven by a piston-powered engine with "pusher" propeller unit. The Shahed 161 is a 40% scale version / copy of the complete jet-powered RQ-170. The Shahed 181 is 60% to the RQ-170 scale and, again, featured with a piston-driven engine. The Shahed 191 mentioned above is 60% to the RQ-170's scale. The Shahed 171 is the 100% scale copied form of the original RQ-170.
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(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
✓Ground Attack (Bombing, Strafing)
Ability to conduct aerial bombing of ground targets by way of (but not limited to) guns, bombs, missiles, rockets, and the like.
✓Intelligence-Surveillance-Reconnaissance (ISR), Scout
Surveil ground targets / target areas to assess environmental threat levels, enemy strength, or enemy movement.
Aircraft inherently designed (or later developed) with an unmanned capability to cover a variety of over-battlefield roles.
14.8 ft (4.50 m)
85.3 ft (26.00 m)
6.1 ft (1.85 m)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the SAI Saegheh production variant)
monoplane / mid-mounted / swept-back
Design utilizes a single primary wing mainplane; this represent the most popular mainplane arrangement.
Mainplanes are mounted along the midway point of the sides of the fuselage.
The planform features wing sweep back along the leading edges of the mainplane, promoting higher operating speeds.
(Structural descriptors pertain to the SAI Saegheh production variant)
1 x Non-afterburning turbofan engine of unknown make, model, and output power; some sub-scale versions equipped with piston-driven engine powering pusher propeller at rear of fuselage.
47,572 ft (14,500 m | 9 mi)
(Showcased performance specifications pertain to the SAI Saegheh production variant. Performance specifications showcased above are subject to environmental factors as well as aircraft configuration. Estimates are made when Real Data not available. Compare this aircraft entry against any other in our database or View aircraft by powerplant type)
Unknown. Assumed support for air-to-surface missiles and rockets.
(Not all ordnance types may be represented in the showcase above)
Hardpoint Mountings: 2
Saegheh - Base Series Name.
Shahed 141 - 40% scale version of the RQ-170; piston-powered engine with pusher propeller unit.
Shahed 161 - 40% scale version of the RQ-170.
Shahed 181 - 60% scale version of the RQ-170; piston-powered engine with pusher propeller unit.
Shahed 191 - 60% scale version of the RQ-170.
Shahed 171 (Simorgh) - 100% scale version of the RQ-170.
Ribbon graphics not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective aerial campaigns / operations / aviation periods.
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