The Ethiopian National Defence Force (ENDF) may have acquired the Iranian-made Mohajer-6 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to support it’s war in the Tigray region against the rebel Tigray Defence Force (TDF).
Recent photographs of a visit by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to an airport in the northeastern province of Afar shows at least one UAV and its mobile ground control station (GCS) similar to the ones used by the Iranian military.
Also, subsequent satellite imagery obtained by Planet Skysat shows two drones with a wingspan of 10–11 m deployed to the Semera airport.
Analysts observed that the GCS displays showing the video feed from the UAV had an identical information as the Iranian system.
It is not yet certain how many Mohajer-6 drones Ethiopia may have acquired, it is likely that the two observed in Semera may be for evaluation purposes before a larger purchase is made.
The Ethiopian military is knee-deep in a violence civil war in the Tigrayan region. The country already operates unarmed Israeli Aerostar UAS and WanderB mini-UAS. Their lack of armament may have propelled Ethiopia to seek armed drones for its counter insurgency efforts in Tigray.
The Mohajer-6 was first unveiled in April 2016, the Mohajer-6 UCAV is the latest design in the Mohajer-series of UAVs.
The type has a range of 200km, endurance of 12 hours, service ceiling of 5.5 km, and a payload of up to 40kg.
The Mohajer-6 UCAV has a wingspan of 10 m and is capable of carrying the Qaem family of small guided bombs.
For target acquisition, acquisition and reconnaissance capabilities, the Mohajer-6 features an EOAS-I-18A FLIR turret
In Africa, the type have been exported to Sudan and the Libyan National Army.