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Iran unveils new missile-equipped drone

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Iran's new combat drone. A Press TV image

TEHRAN (AFP): Iran on Tuesday unveiled a new missile-equipped drone to boost its military arsenal, as part of events marking the end of its 1980-1988 war against Iraq.

Iranian engineers working for the armed forces have "built the drones to carry air defence missiles", deputy defence minister General Amir Hatami said, quoted by Fars news agency.

"The research, experimentation and testing phases have been completed," he said.

"These new drones are capable of destroying different types of aircraft, including fighters, drones and helicopters," he added, without giving technical specifications.

State television broadcast footage of what it said was the new drone being uncovered at a ceremony held at a secret location.

Apart from a fast-moving ballistic weapons programme, Iran has since 2010 been producing drones which the defence ministry says are capable of firing missiles with a range of 1,000 kilometres.

Tehran says its weapons programmes are purely for defensive purposes, but the United States whose Fifth Fleet is based in Bahrain across the Gulf has often voiced concerns.

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