Shahed Saegheh

The Saegheh (English: "Thunderbolt") is an Iranian turbofan/piston-powered flying wing unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) produced by Shahed Aviation Industries.[2] It is based on, but smaller than and substantially different from, a Lockheed Martin RQ-170 Sentinel UAV that was captured by Iran in 2011 and then reverse-engineered.[5] It is one of two Iranian flying wing UAVs based on the RQ-170, along with the Shahed 171 Simorgh, a larger version.

Saegheh (4).jpg
A Saegheh-2[1] variant at a defence exhibition in Tehran.
Role Unmanned combat aerial vehicle
National origin Iran
Manufacturer Shahed Aviation Industries[2]
First flight November 2014[3]
Introduction October 2016
Status In service
Primary user IRGC AF
Produced 2010s–present
Number built 10 Built, 50 Planned (2019)[4]

The Saegheh was revealed in October 2016.[6]

A number of western sources have expressed doubt that the Saegheh is weapons-capable, and say it is solely an ISR platform.[7][8]

As of 2017, 10 Saegheh drones were in production, and Iran planned to procure at least 50 by 2025.[2]


The specifications for the Saegheh are unknown, but it is believed to have a wingspan around 6–7 meters.[9]


The Saegheh-1 was first presented at an Iranian arms expo in 2016.

Iranian state news claimed the Saegheh-1 could carry four Sadid-1 precision-guided anti-tank guided missiles. The Iranian Government did not provide a demonstration of the UAV flying, or state what its range was.[10] The Saegheh-1 had no apparent targeting/optical system.[1]

The first models of Saegheh lacked the frontal air intake of the Simorgh/RQ-170.


This model is also known as the Shahed 191.[11] Later shown models have frontal air intake. The probability is that only piston engined models do not have frontal intakes. The UAV takes off from specialized racks mounted on a vehicle speeding down a runway (probably Toyota Hilux trucks) and is recovered on a runway with retractable landing skids.[12] According to Tasnim News, the Shahed 191 is 60% of the size of the RQ-170.[13]

The Shahed 191 carries two Sadid-1 missiles internally and lands on retractable landing skids.[12] The Shahed 191 has a cruising speed of 300 km/h, an endurance of 4.5 hours, a range of 450 km, and a payload of 50 kg.[14] The ceiling is 25,000 ft.[13] The wing span is 7.31 meters, the length 2.7 meters, the max takeoff weight 500 kg, and the max speed 350 km/h.[13]

Fars News Agency says the Saegheh-2 has been used in combat in Syria,[1] using missiles against the Islamic State terrorist organization.[citation needed]

Propeller-powered variantEdit

In wargames held in 2019 Iran showed a Saegheh variant powered by a propeller. It carries its Sadid-1 weapons externally and lands on fixed landing skids.[11] It takes off similarly to the Shahed 191 variant.[11]

Operational historyEdit

Benjamin Netanyahu presents part of a destroyed Saegheh drone at the Munich Security Conference 2018

On 1 October 2018, the IRGC Aerospace Force used ballistic missiles and drones, supposedly including Saegheh UAVs, to attack targets in the Abu Kamal region, in Eastern Syria.[15] Although Iran had first shown the Saegheh with four Sadid-1 missiles slung under the body, in this incident they released video they said showed a Saegheh UAV releasing a single Sadid-1 bomb from its internal bomb bays.[16]

Israel shot down a Saegheh during the February 2018 Israel–Syria incident. The Times of Israel reported that the UAV's design was largely based on the captured RQ-170; IAF Brigadier General Tomer Bar said that the drone was quite advanced and imitated western technology.[17]

In July 2022, the United States claimed that Russian officials had travelled to Iran to 'examine' drones, including several labelled on satellite images as Shahed-191. At least one of these aircraft was pictured in flight near Kashan airfield. The report stated that the aircraft appeared to be 'attack-capable'.[18]



Specifications (Shahed 191)Edit

Data from Tasnim News (2020)[13] and Иранский ударный БЛА "Shahed-191" (2019)[14]

General characteristics

  • Crew: none
  • Length: 2.7 m (8 ft 10 in)
  • Wingspan: 7.31 m (24 ft 0 in)
  • Gross weight: 500 kg (1,102 lb) 100 kg payload
  • Max takeoff weight: 500 kg (1,102 lb)


  • Maximum speed: 350 km/h (220 mph, 190 kn)
  • Cruise speed: 300 km/h (190 mph, 160 kn)
  • Range: 1,500 km (930 mi, 810 nmi)
  • Endurance: 4.5 h
  • Service ceiling: 7,620 m (25,000 ft)

See alsoEdit

Related developmentEdit

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and eraEdit


  1. ^ a b c Jeremy Binnie (31 January 2019). "Iran unveils new version of armed stealth UAV - Jane's 360". London. Archived from the original on 3 February 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d Taghvaee, Babak (Jul 27, 2017). "Shahed 129 Heads Iran's Armed UAV Force". Aviation Week & Space Technology.
  3. ^ "Pentagon claims Iran's copy of captured US Sentinel drone 'inferior' to original - World news - The Guardian". 4 December 2014. Archived from the original on 4 December 2014. Retrieved 7 October 2018.
  4. ^ "Shahed 129 Heads Iran's Armed UAV Force | Aviation Week Network".
  5. ^ "Iran builds attack drone similar to captured US model, local media say". The Guardian. 2 October 2016. Retrieved 2 October 2016.
  6. ^ Cenciotti, David (2 October 2016). "Iran unveils new UCAV modeled on captured U.S. RQ-170 stealth drone".
  7. ^ "IDF highlights Iranian presence in Syria - Jane's 360". Retrieved 7 October 2018.
  8. ^ Taghvaee, Babak (27 June 2017). شاهد ۱۲۹، ستون فقرات نیروی پهپادی ایران. BBC News فارسی (in Persian). Valletta, Malta: BBC Persian.
  9. ^ Frew, Joanna (May 2018). "Drone Wars: The Next Generation: An overview of current operators of armed drones" (PDF). Oxford: Drone Wars UK. p. 12.
  10. ^ Sharafedin, Bozorgmehr (1 October 2016). "Iran showcases new combat drone, copied from U.S. unmanned aircraft". Reuters. Retrieved 2 October 2016.
  11. ^ a b c Binnie, Jeremy (27 March 2019). "The propeller version carries weapons externally and lands on fixed bars, so not as stealthy".
  12. ^ a b Binnie, Jeremy (27 March 2019). "The jet-powered one, known to be the Shahed-191, carries weapons in internal bays and lands using retractable skids".
  13. ^ a b c d "اینفوگرافیک/ تولید مثل جانور قندهار در ایران- گرافیک و کاریکاتور اینفوگرافیک تسنیم | Tasnim". خبرگزاری تسنیم | Tasnim (in Persian). Retrieved 2022-11-12.
  14. ^ a b prom1 (10 February 2019). "Иранский ударный БЛА "Shahed-191"".
  15. ^ Iran uses drones and missiles in cross border attack on enemies in Syria,, October 4, 2018.
  16. ^ "For a Second Time, Iran Fires Missiles at IS Targets in Syria".
  17. ^ Gross, Judah Ari (10 February 2018). "Iranian UAV that entered Israeli airspace seems to be American stealth knock-off". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 12 February 2018.
  18. ^ "White House says Russian officials visited Iran twice to examine drones". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2022-07-18.