In December of 2011, Iranian elements captured a downed, largely intact Lockheed Martin RQ-170 "Sentinel" jet-powered reconnaissance stealth drone. From this, the country was able to secure decades of research into the technologies (as well as the American approach to advanced drone design) in regards to low-observable, unmanned aircraft. The result today is an Iran that has invested heavily in the design, development, and production of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) including direct-combat and loitering munition types.
The Shahed-171 "Simorgh" (also S-171) is one offshoot of the Sentinel find - representing a 100% scale version and direct-copy of the American design. Beyond this there exists a collection of related variants: the "Shahed-141" represents a 40% scale version of the RQ-170 complete with piston-powered drive while the "Shahed-161" is another 40% scale form only jet-powered. The "Shahed-181" is a 60% scale version and has a piston-powered drive and the "Shahed-191" follows as another 60% scale entry.
The Shahed-171 is one of two Iranian models based in the RQ-170, the other being the dimensionally smaller Shahed "Saegheh" of 2016 detailed elsewhere on this site.
The Shahed-171 took to the air for the first time during 2014 and reportedly is in service with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (Aerospace Force).
Manufacturing is handled under the Shahed Aviation Industries brand label. As the aircraft is a direct copy of the Lockheed air vehicle, it is thought to not exhibit all of the performance and system capabilities inherent in the advanced American design - this would be consistent with other copy programs enacted by Iranian aero-industry. Unlike the Sentinel, which is an unarmed spyplane, the Iranian Shahed-171 has been noted to carry air-launched, air-dropped munitions making it an Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle (UCAV)..
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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.
✓Close-Air Support (CAS)
Developed to operate in close proximity to active ground elements by way of a broad array of air-to-ground ordnance and munitions options.
Aircraft inherently designed (or later developed) with an unmanned capability to cover a variety of over-battlefield roles.
14.8 ft (4.50 m)
38.0 ft (11.58 m)
5.9 ft (1.80 m)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the Shahed-171 production variant)
monoplane / mid-mounted / delta, tailless
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 delta planform lacks a conventional tailplane arrangement with all wing surface area taken up by the delta planform.
(Structural descriptors pertain to the Shahed-171 production variant)
1 x Turbofan (Garret TFE731 or GE TF34 copy or similar) engine of unknown thrust output.
(Showcased performance specifications pertain to the Shahed-171 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)
Undisclosed. Assumed missiles and precision-guided / drop bombs.
(Not all ordnance types may be represented in the showcase above)
Hardpoint Mountings: 2
Note: Diagram above does not take into account inline hardpoints (mounting positions seated one-behind-the-other).
Shahed-171 "Simorgh" - Base Series Designation.
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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