Iran has armed its Karrar drone with Majid air-to-air missiles, indicating a new role for the drone. According to Iran, the drone has a 1,000km range. In late October, the drone was observed with an air-to-air missile, leading to speculation about its potential use in air defense. A ceremony was held to integrate the drones into Iran’s air defense units.
The combination of the drone and the missile could enhance Iran’s air defense capabilities, particularly along its extensive borders. However, it would require a significant number of armed drones and the necessary radar systems for detecting and guiding them. It remains unclear how the drone will intercept and launch its missiles, as well as how it will compare to Iran’s existing air defense systems.
The new capability is intended for Iran’s official air force, not the IRGC, and is seen as a cost-effective alternative to manned fighter planes. Iran’s actual air force is aging, and the country has faced challenges in modernizing it. The Karrar drone is equipped with thermal and visual tracking methods, which are considered indigenous achievements of Iran’s industries. It successfully performed in the army’s drone exercise in October.
The drone’s design and capabilities make it a unique platform for missiles. It is believed that if a threat is detected, the Karrar drone can be launched to intercept it, using its claimed speed of 900 km/hr to quickly reach the target and launch its missile. Additionally, arming drones with missiles provides Iran with new ways to threaten its neighbors and counter other drones, not just manned aircraft.