Revealed: Iran Testing Combat Drones In Syria

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Newly revealed footage suggests that Iran is testing out its new combat drones in the war zone in Syria and Iraq.

Despite decades of sanctions, the Islamic Republic has managed to grow a relatively advanced domestic unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) development programme. Iran’s drones have been heavily employed in both Iraq and Syria, but until now they have served as surveillance mechanisms.

Evidence has now come to light to suggest that Iran has stepped its application of UAVs to the conflict. Footage, shown on the Iranian state TV channel in late 2015 and examined by France24’s The Observers, shows the trajectory, impact, and final explosion of a missile from the vantage point of the drone. Surprisingly, until The Observers, the video was largely ignored by news organisations and social media.

So does the footage really show an Iranian combat drone in action? It seems so for several reasons.

The drone’s target marker and direction arrows at the bottom of the frame are identical to the symbols in other official footage of Iranian drones.

The footage appears to have been taken in Syria, judging by the geocoordinate visible in the top right corner of the screen. While the coordinates shown are not full, they’re enough to determine the general location of southern Aleppo.

The Observers got a comment from a military expert, who wished to remain anonymous:

“Maybe Iran is just testing combat drones. It wouldn’t be the first time they tested weapons in Syria and Iraq.

However, this video shared on Iranian state TV does actually look credible. For one, you can see the smoke of a missile that’s apparently launched from the drone.

Secondly, the explosion that you see is really small. That makes sense because the missiles that they carry are small. A lot of videos purport to show drone attacks, but the explosions in the videos are much too large to be from the small missiles that the drones carry.”

This video, however, seems to be the real deal. Watch and judge for yourself: