Iran unveiled two new locally produced unmanned aerial drones over the weekend, one of which it described as its most sophisticated drone to date that can reach much of the Middle East, including Israel.
On Friday Iranian Revolutionary Guard chief Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari showcased the Shahed-129, or Witness-129, an unmanned drone with a range of 1,700 kilometers (1,060 miles), 24-hour non-stop flight capability and can carry up to eight bombs or missiles.
Jafari called the missile-carrying aircraft a "strategic asset" for the military to protect Iran's borders. The military says the Shahed-129 is effective against both stationary and mobile targets.
Iran frequently makes announcements about strides in military technology, but it is virtually impossible to independently determine the actual capabilities or combat worthiness of the weapons it produces.
"Our scientists, through scientific struggle, have built Iran's most strategic unmanned plane," Jafari said in remarks posted on the guard's website on Friday. He said the drone was designed and built using entirely home-grown technology.
State TV showed a video of the drone flying. It said Jafari has ordered mass production of the unmanned plane.
"This smart technology (drone) can do the job of thousands of soldiers, military posts and border guards ... and protect the security of the borders," the website quoted him as saying.
Jafari also said Revolutionary Guard experts have finished reverse-engineering a top secret CIA RQ-170 Sentinel drone that Iran captured intact in December 2011. Iran has also claimed to have captured at least three American ScanEagle drone aircraft that violated Iranian airspace.
Jafari said an Iranian copy of the RQ-170 Sentinel drone will be built soon.
"In the near future, you will hear good news on the building of an Iranian replica of the RQ-170," he said.
A senior Revolutionary Guard commander, Brig. Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, said the Shahed-129 was capable of monitoring for up to 200 kilometers.
Hajizadeh, who heads the Guard's aerospace division, said the attacking drone also has civilian uses such as taking aerial photos for agricultural and environmental purposes.
Iran's military revealed a new reconnaissance drone on Saturday named "Yasir."
Iranian media reported that the Yasir can fly for eight hours with a range of 200 kilometers (124 miles) and reach an altitude of 4,500 meters (15,000 feet).
It resembles the American ScanEagle, an unmanned short-range aerial surveillance vehicle that Iran claimed to have captured in late 2012. However, Iranian officials did not mention the U.S. drone on Saturday.
"Yasir is capable of identifying targets … with its very powerful camera, and reporting them back to the base," the chief of army ground forces Brig. Gen. Ahmad Reza Pourdastan was quoted as saying at the unveiling ceremony.
According to photos provided to Iranian media, the drone is launched from a wedge catapult, enhancing its mobility. The reports did not provide further details.
Pourdastan also spoke of another newly produced kamikaze drone -- called Raad 85 -- which he said was capable of identifying targets and attacking them.
He did not provide further details about the drone, and no pictures were released to the media.
Iran in recent years has boasted of capturing US drones it says have penetrated its airspace, vowing to reverse engineer them to make them its own.
In December 2011, Iran claimed to have captured a large and sophisticated CIA stealth drone, a bat-winged RQ-170 Sentinel. Tehran rejected a U.S. request for its return.
Iran says it operates a large drone production program, which is a source of concern for regional arch-foe Israel and Western nations at odds with Tehran over its nuclear ambitions.