Iran Claims They’ve Built a Flying Saucer

by Nancy Atkinson on March 23, 2011

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The Zohal (lower right). Credit: Fars News Agency

Iran’s Fars News Agency revealed that the country has built an unmanned flying saucer, named “Zohal” (Saturn in Persian) which will be used for various missions including aerial imaging. UPDATE: thanks to reader Robert McCelland, we now have an actual picture of the Zohal instead of the hoaky flying saucer image that was included in the Fars article (see below). It is not really all that big — more like a remote controlled toy helicopter — but reportedly the Zohal is equipped with an auto-pilot system, GPS and two separate imaging systems with full HD 10 mega-pixel picture quality and is able to take and send images simultaneously. It was unveiled in a ceremony attended by Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei at an exhibition of strategic technologies.

No detailed specifications were supplied such as exact size and flight capabilities, (except that it can fly vertically) but the report said it could fly both indoors and outside.

The craft was designed and developed jointly by Farnas Aerospace Company and Iranian Aviation and Space Industries Association (IASIA).

The original image on the Fars site:

This image accompanied a news article in Iran about the country's own flying saucer.

About 

Nancy Atkinson is Universe Today's Senior Editor. She also is the host of the NASA Lunar Science Institute podcast and works with Astronomy Cast. Nancy is also a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

robertmcclelland March 23, 2011 at 10:03 AM

That’s a bizarre picture FNA is using. The actual Zohal looks like this.

joed293 March 23, 2011 at 9:31 AM

Don’t trust info from the daily mail, it’s not necessarily anywhere close to the truth.

Ryan R Scott March 23, 2011 at 9:38 AM

Next thing you know, the Iranians will be abducting people and putting them through some really embarrassing experiments.

joed293 March 23, 2011 at 9:56 AM

Next thing you know, the Daily Mail will be abducting people and selling their stories as exclusives!

delphinus100 March 23, 2011 at 4:51 PM

All you need is to walk too close to their border to risk that…

Nafin March 23, 2011 at 9:41 AM

I want to believe…

IVAN3MAN_AT_LARGE March 23, 2011 at 9:58 AM

It’s just a fancy lampshade bought from IKEA.

robertmcclelland March 23, 2011 at 10:15 AM

Here’s another shot of it in flight.

Olaf March 23, 2011 at 10:45 AM

I would call this a helicopter.

Olaf March 23, 2011 at 10:45 AM

So they built a big balloon?

hal9000 March 23, 2011 at 2:19 PM
Ed Myers March 24, 2011 at 12:49 PM

That’s funny!

dimtick March 23, 2011 at 11:59 AM

and you can buy one to for the amazing price of 3 payments of $29.95….

http://www.airhogs.com/#/hawk_eye

Trippy March 23, 2011 at 12:22 PM

I hate to break it to you, but the lead image is actually the Draganflyer X6 – a Canadian UAV.
The image can be found here on their website: http://www.draganfly.com/uav-helicopter/draganflyer-x6/

If you look at the first image linked to by robertmcclelland, the UAV in that image has four powerplants with one prop each, where as the lead image (and the Draganflyer X6) have three power plants and dual props. Also the first image appears to have a circular body, where the draganflyer x6 and the lead image have an ellipsoidal body.

Nancy Atkinson March 23, 2011 at 1:11 PM

Thanks, have switched the images.

gopher65 March 23, 2011 at 3:44 PM

I was just in the Detroit airport a few days ago, and one of the stores in the airport was selling something that looked not only more functional than that thing, it was also far more “flying saucer” shaped. It wasn’t exactly expensive (even at an airport).

Newsflash! Iran is now capable of creating military technology so advanced that it is now on the same level as the technology used in off-the-shelf children’s toys in the rest of the world. I’m not sure why this counts as news; we already new Iran was technologically primitive in comparison to the East and the West.

gopher65 March 23, 2011 at 3:57 PM

*knew.

*wants an edit feature;)*

Astrofiend March 23, 2011 at 4:36 PM

Clearly this is not meant as military hardware. It will be used to film civil unrest so they can identify perpetrators and hang them. That’s what Iran is all about – hanging people.

Question March 23, 2011 at 10:59 PM

they are also good with beheading and stoning to death.

however, not quite as efficient as we are at launching tomahawks from ships and dropping bombs from the skies.

HeadAroundU March 24, 2011 at 7:27 AM

Nancy, you’ll get Pulitzer prize for this or whatever you writers get. :D

shrank March 24, 2011 at 9:30 AM

Looks like the Hexakopter by Holger Buss to me. See:MikroKopter – HexaKopter
by Holger Buss http://vimeo.com/6194911.

joseluis7696 March 24, 2011 at 9:39 AM

What a fanciful name for a simple multi-rotor flying device. They are widely available here as toys in 4 rotor versions, albeit smaller (and certainly cheaper). Some people there must still be coming back from the dark ages. Or not yet.

xrayexplorer March 28, 2011 at 7:16 AM

The best part of this thing is that it utilizes GPS for their location control. Yet another US investment that allows other countries to do things like this.

I wouldn’t expect a thank you card any time soon.

cindymcarth March 31, 2011 at 10:24 AM

They can use it for spying on enemies….
http://indoorbananatrees.com/

HolyAvengerOne April 2, 2011 at 6:59 PM

Hahaha, most ridiculous piece of news I’ve read in a very long time, lol.

Thanks for the intense smile =)

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