Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Navy Rear-Admiral Ali Fadavi says Iran has launched the production line of ScanEagle drones.

“The production line of ScanEagle drones has been launched in Iran and it has already been employed by the IRGC Navy and Aerospace Division,” Fadavi said on Monday.

Fadavi added that the US ScanEagle drone recently captured by the IRGC in the Persian Gulf was the third aircraft of its kind downed by Iranian forces; the capture of the previous two ScanEagles had not been publicized.

Fadavi announced on December 4 that a US ScanEagle drone had been captured by Iranian forces over the Persian Gulf upon the aircraft’s intrusion into the Iranian airspace.

Iran has released footage of the captured drone, which is a long-endurance aircraft manufactured by Insitu, a subsidiary of Boeing.

Referring to the capabilities of the ScanEagle drone, the Iranian commander said the aircraft captured by Iran has been airborne for 1.5 million hours and is able to fly for 30 hours on end.

Last year, the Iranian military also grounded a US RQ-170 spy drone while it was flying over the Iranian city of Kashmar, some 140 miles (225 km) from the Afghan border.

Commenting on the importance of the Strait of Hormuz, Fadavi said, “The Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz are of vital importance for the entire world and any insecurity in this region would threaten the world’s energy security.”

The Iranian commander added that in the current situation and given the global economic crisis, the world could not cope with an energy shock, particularly in the Persian Gulf.

The Strait of Hormuz is a narrow waterway which connects the Persian Gulf on the west to the Sea of Oman.

Statistically, the waterway is one of the world’s most important shipping lanes, with a daily flow of about 15 million barrels of oil.

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