Iran's military has launched two production lines to build unmanned aircraft with surveillance and attack capabilities, their defense minister said Monday.
The drones would be used for "surveillance, detection and even assaults with high precision," according to a report quoted by the London Daily Telegraph.
Defense Minister Gen. Ahmad Vahidi said the unmanned aircraft would be able to carry out offensive tasks with a long range, according to Iran's state news agency.
The two types of aircraft, or drones, are named Ra'd (thunder) and Nazir (herald), with the former possessing offensive capabilities.
This is just the latest in a list of technological advances and military achievements announced by the country in the weeks preceding the 31st anniversary of the Islamic revolution on Feb 11.
Iran announced two years ago it had built an unmanned aircraft that it claimed would be undetectable to radars, SpaceWar.com reported.
"We have built a drone with a more than 600-mile range which can collect information and shoot films," the head of the elite Revolutionary Guards, General Yahya Rahim Safavi, told Iran's Arabic-language satellite news channel Al-Alam, according to the site.
These aircraft would have a range long enough to reach Israel.
Iran began a military self-sufficiency program in 1992, under which it produces a large range of weapons, including tanks, medium range missiles, jet fighters and torpedoes.
Meanwhile, a senior air force commander, Gen. Heshmatollah Kasiri, told the official IRNA news agency Monday that Iran would "soon" deploy an air defense system with capabilities matching, or superior to, those of the Russian S-300 system.
He did not elaborate, but the S-300 missiles are capable of shooting down aircraft, cruise missiles and ballistic missile warheads at ranges of over 90 miles and at altitudes of about 90,000 feet.
Gen. Kasiri said Iran produces its entire air defense needs domestically, but still criticized Russia for not delivering the S-300 missiles for "unacceptable reasons."
Russia signed a 2007 contract to sell the S-300 missile system to Iran, but they have not been delivered yet. The delay has not been explained, but Israel and the United States have strongly objected to the deal.
The S-300 missiles would significantly boost Iran's air defense capability at a time when Israel says it will not rule out taking military action against Iran's nuclear sites. Israel and the West believe that Iran's nuclear program is geared toward acquiring nuclear weapons. Iran denies the charge.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.