Posts Tagged 'UCAV'

Air Power Studies Debate Series

A new series of Air Power Studies Debates are being organised by the Air Power Studies Division of King’s College London.

The inaugural debate will be on the motion:

‘Autonomous weapons and morality in war are incompatible’

Professor Noel Sharkey, University of Sheffield

(For the motion)

Professor Tony Gillespie, Defence Science and Technology Laboratory

(Against the motion)

The debate will be held in the Edmund J Safra Lecture Theatre, Kings College London, Strand Campus, London on Thursday 14 April 2011

1845 Complementary refreshments in “Chapters”

1930 Lecture Theatre (doors open 1915)


Please confirm your intent to attend by contacting:

Ms Debra Aitkenhead

Telephone: +44 (0) 1400 266334

DFTS: 95751 6334

Fax: +44 (0) 1400 266265



Iran’s Karrar UAV: Questions Remain

The Israeli defence establishment was no doubt listening attentively to last week’s news that Iran had developed its 1,000-km (539-nautical mile) range Karrar Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle (UCAV). The range of this weapon places Israel inside its envelope, but questions remain regarding the efficacy of this new aircraft.

Official announcements on Iranian television spoke of the UCAV being able to deliver two 250 lb (551 kg) bombs, or a single 500 lb (1,100 kg) weapon. As an alternative the drone could carry up to four anti-ship missiles.

So far, so impressive, but much remains unclear about this drone. It is one thing being able to design a UAV which can carry a weapons payload over such a distance, but in this respect, the Iranians are a good few years behind their arch-rivals Israel and the United States in designing drones which can deliver effects on target over long distances.

How, for example, do the Iranians plan to guide the weapon? How sophisticated is the drone’s inertial navigation package to get iron on target after a journey of up to 1,000 km? Moreover, how exactly do the Iranians plan to fly this drone through what is probably some of the world’s most heavily defended airspace? The Karrar might not be too difficult to knock out of the sky, given that the design is reportedly closely based on the Denel Skua target drone developed in South Africa. Using a target-drone based design may not make Tehran’s latest efforts all that stealthy.

Furthermore, there is little world on the passive self-defences that the drone may carry. Reverse engineering, a skill which Iran excels at, may well yield cut-price copies of western aircraft, but it may not provide reliable replicas of the sophisticated electronic countermeasures that western aircraft routinely deploy to protect themselves from air defence radar and missiles.

While the Karrar’s arrival may cause Israel to continue to take notice of Iran’s UAV capabilities, the apparent simplicity of this aircraft may not cause it too much concern.

By Thomas Withington


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