Thursday, December 9, 2010

The U.S Army MQM-107A Streaker, MQM-74C Chukar II and Northop MQM-36 High Technology UAV

MQM-107A Streaker, MQM-74C Chukar II and Northrop MQM-36 Shelduck

Despite the fact Iran had been using American-made Beech MQM-107A Streaker and Northrop MQM-36 Shelduck and MQM-74C Chukar II aerial targets for target practice since the early 1970‘s, it did not introduce UAS in a reconnaissance/ surveillance role until early 1984 at the height of the war with Iraq, when a three-man Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) team demonstrated the potential of reconnaissance UAS to a group of sceptical Pasdaran commanders. The early efforts were not very successful, but the start of Iran’s major ground offensive, Operation Kheibar, in February 1984, in the Iraqi marshlands, which amplified the country’s need for timely intelligence, boosted the UAS prospects. Soon, the IRGC team managed to gain enough interest for further development of reconnaissance and attack UAS. The era of UAS was dawning in Iran, and from then on, it has played a major, and increasingly successful, role in collecting battlefield intelligence for Iranian military commanders.

MQM-107A Streaker
 The first operational use of a UAS (called Pahpad in its Persian abbreviation) was carried out in July 1984 over the southern border marshes, resulting in surprisingly clear battlefield pictures and up-to-date intelligence just before a planned series of land incursions into Iraqi lines. A very simple radiocontrolled airplane, carrying a commercial Hasselblad camera with a 135 mm lens, overflew Iraqi positions at a height of only 50 m and brought back photos of the extensive fortifications, which led the Iranian commanders to cancel their upcoming offensive there. Up until the end of the war the unmanned aircraft now flying at higher altitudes and taking oblique, as well as perpendicular, photographs – played an important role in supporting major offensives [Badr (March 1985), Valfajr-8 (February 1986) and Karbala-5 (January 1987)].

MQM-74C Chukar II
Northrop MQM-36 Shelduck


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