Kaman 22; Latest Achievement of Iran Air Force in UAVs
Story Code : 921331
The Kaman 22 is a great leap for the Air Force in the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) sector and results from the Air Force specialists' efforts.
It seems that with the unveiling and operation of the Kaman 22 UAV, which is currently in the final stages of testing before entering service, the Air Force has taken a big step towards becoming a UAV power.
During his visit to the final stages of the Kaman 22 project, the Commander of Iran's Air Force, Brigadier General Aziz Nasirzadeh, stated that the drone was equipped with combat, optical, and electronic warfare equipment and was designed based on the operational requirements of the Air Force and was in the final stages of production.
"Today, we have reached full maturity in the construction of various types of drones, including combat, reconnaissance, and electronic warfare, with various missions, and we have achieved technologies that can produce various types of drones based on needs, and in the future, construction of other types of drones are on the agenda," he noted.
Specifications and Features
Kaman 22 is the first wide-body combat drone in Iran and is capable of carrying all types of cargo with a flight duration of over 24 hours and a range of 3000 kilometers, which has the ability to detect, monitor, and gather information and photograph distant targets, and has a high combat capability by carrying a variety of intelligent ammunition.
This UAV has also doubled the flight duration of the drones made by the Air Force, i.e., more than 24 hours.
This new Iranian drone is very similar to the famous family of 'MQ-1 Predator' drones and 'MQ-9 Reaper' drones made by General Atomics of the United States.
In the nose and, to some extent, in the fuselage shape of the UAV, Kaman 22 is similar to the 'MQ-1 Predator', but unlike the V-shaped tail mounted on the American UAV, the tail of Kaman 22 is mounted upwards.
The prominent nose on American drones is typically the location of a satellite communications antenna that allows the drone to be guided by satellite to its final range instead of being limited to a line of sight within a range of less than 200 km and send data from its reconnaissance and espionage systems directly to command centers.
Although according to official information, Iran does not have a communication satellite at the moment. Implementing this form of design on the Kaman 22 shows that this restriction will not last long.
The fuselage shape of the Kaman 22 has sloping angles with a short length at the bottom, which creates much less radar reflection than conventional sections in Iranian drones for ground-based radars and airborne radars are almost the same altitude as the flying UAV. This is an important advantage that has made it possible to accept the greater complexity of the design and its construction's higher cost and time.
A downward vertical surface can also be seen at the bottom of the fuselage and under the engine, which has a rudder and helps the drone maneuver horizontally.
This way, the configuration of this part of the Kaman 22 is separated from the MQ-1 family and becomes similar to the MQ-9, which is a larger drone. In fact, the tail of the Kaman 22 is modeled on the American MQ-9.
The protruding angles of the Kaman 22 show that this drone was not a copy of the American MQ-1; particular attention to the shape and location of the Kaman 22 wings and having winglets show that the Air Force Self-Sufficiency Jihad specialists had a complete and professional design with different details from the American and even Iranian counterparts, the 'Shahed 129', 'Fotros,' and 'Hamaseh.'
The Kaman 22 engine is most likely a piston engine and may be similar to the one used in the Shahed 129. The blades of this engine have an added section at the tip that reduces the produced sound.
A Multi-mission UAV
An important point about the Kaman 22 is that it is officially the first Iranian drone equipped with a combination of reconnaissance systems, weapons, and electronic warfare pods simultaneously. Simultaneously, combining all these items in one flight turns the Kaman 22 into the Iranian UAV with the highest payload (in terms of quantity) on the flight.
Having electro-optical equipment, the basic mission of Kaman 22 is air surveillance, reconnaissance, and targeting. Various types of these systems have been made in Iran, including day-vision cameras, thermal imaging cameras that can work in adverse weather conditions, and laser rangefinders. In the Kaman 22, this system is installed under the nose and in front of its landing gear. On the other hand, the Kaman 22 will be a suitable drone for electronic warfare operations.
The ability to carry up to 300 kg of equipment and the number of mounting stations under the wings and fuselage makes this UAV able to play well the role of an electronic warfare base station and even electronic interception and espionage.
Due to the flight duration of more than one day and the flight altitude of probably more than 20,000 feet (6 km), this UAV has quickly become an important element among the airplanes with electronic warfare missions in the Air Force. It will help to upgrade the new electronic combat capability of this force.
The Kaman 22, as a multi-purpose drone, will also have a very effective combat capability by utilizing a carrying capacity of 300 kg in seven weapon carrying positions, six of which are under the wings.
On the day of the unveiling, in addition to two types of vertical bombs, a new and unannounced remote-controlled bomb with opening wings was observed under each wing of the Kaman 22. In addition to Kaman 22, a 500-pound GBU-12 laser-guided bomb was unveiled along with a new laser marking pod.
The list of weapons of Kaman 22 will definitely not be limited to these cases, and Diamond missiles, Sadid bombs and missiles, Akhgar missiles, and maybe in the near future, anti-aircraft shoulder-launched missiles, as well as missiles such as Azarakhsh and Shafaq will be added to the list of weapons of this new Iranian drone.