Hugo Chavez

Venezuela announced that it has built its first drone in partnership with Iran, Russia and China.

Venezuelan media report that President Hugo Chavez said yesterday: “It is one of the three planes that we have manufactured here, and we are continuing to make them … not just for military use, [as] much of its equipment is for civilian use.”

He announced that the drone was developed in cooperation with Russia, China, Iran and other countries allied with Venezuela.

A Venezuelan official was quoted as saying that the drone was made using domestically built parts by engineers trained in Iran.

He stressed that the drone does not carry arms. It reportedly has a 100-km range and can fly on its own for 90 minutes at an altitude of 3,000 metres.

Recent U.S. drone attacks in Pakistan against alleged militants have triggered fierce international controversy.

Analysts have said the development of drones by Venezuela will trigger adverse U.S. reactions.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters in Washington: “The Venezuelans make lots of extravagant claims. So do the Iranians. Our concern, obviously, would be with any breaking of international sanctions on Iran. And we will be most vigilant in watching how this goes forward.”