Reports Say Iran Has Expanded Drone Base In Yemen


Iran has sent drones to Yemen, enabling the creation of a base for so-called “suicide drones” or what are known as loitering munitions, according to Newsweek. The report claims that “Shahed-136” drones are now based in Al-Jawf. These are supposedly “advanced UAVs.” 

The report is unclear regarding most of the details, only noting that these drones might have a range of some 2,200 kilometers – which puts them conveniently just within range of Israel. In the past, Iran has claimed long ranges for its drones. It operates drones that are basically like cruise missiles: They are given a target coordinate and fly to it without needing to communicate with their base. In this sense they operate like a German V-1 rocket more than a modern drone; they don’t really “loiter” over a target.  

The Newsweek article, which has been picked up by other media, speaks of the Shahed-136 and Shahed-131, which it calls a “predecessor.” It alleges that these drones could give Iran plausible deniability because if the Houthis use a long-range drone to attack then Iran can claim it didn’t do it. The allegation is that the Islamic Republic would use this secret drone base to carry out the attack. A blurry aerial photo alleges to show the drone. 

According to the Drone Center at Bard in New York, Iran has several Shahed-series drones. It has the Shahed-123 and 129. These are surveillance-style drones. The 129 looks similar to Israel’s Hermes 450. Iran often models its drones on foreign drones. The Iran Aircraft Manufacturing Industrial Company HESA builds them. Iran has other Shahed drones, including the 191 and 171 which are copies of the US RQ-170, a flying wing design. The Shahed 125 is a copy of the US Shadow. Iran has armed the 123, 129 and 191 with missiles. 

Read More: Jerusalem Post