On August 25, Iran’s Army completed a massive two-day statewide drone drill, demonstrating up to 150 drones for combat, reconnaissance, and electronic warfare activities.
The drill was conducted on several land locations, including the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman.
According to the state media, the Iranian Army’s ground, naval, aviation, and air defense forces, as well as the country’s air defense base, participated in the ‘first-of-its-kind joint drone exercise.’
Vice Adm. Mahmoud Mousavi, the drill’s spokesperson, stated that the drones successfully destroyed mock enemy positions with precision missiles and other weapons.
The broad spectrum of unmanned aircraft included Kaman, Mohajer, Ababil, and Arash drones, which Iran claims were developed domestically.
Iran continues its military drone drills amid US fears of Tehran equipping Russian troops pic.twitter.com/1hp0tMxLG9
— Ignorance, the root and stem of all evil (@ivan_8848) August 26, 2022
The state media reported that Iranian drone reconnaissance, intelligence-gathering, border-guarding, and detecting radar-evading equipment capabilities were also tested.
The types 12 and 22 of Kaman drones, in particular, were deemed “very valuable” by army experts, who also noted that the aircraft was now being mass produced. The state broadcaster added that the Omid drone was a rival to its Israeli counterpart Harop. However, the exact power data couldn’t be made public due to security concerns.
“We are not setting eyes of aggression on any country,” declared the Iranian air force commander, Brig. Gen. Hamid Vahedi, on the sidelines of the exercise. “The Islamic Republic is a drone hub in the region, which is a matter of pride for the soldiers of the supreme leader.”
The drones were tested in large-scale drills nearly a month after US authorities said that the Islamic Republic was planning to ship drones to Russia, which would use them in its conflict with Ukraine.
US national security adviser Jake Sullivan said that Iran is also preparing to train Russians in using its unmanned aircraft.
“The history of cooperation in some technological areas between the Islamic Republic and the Russian Federation dates back to well before the Ukraine war, and there has recently been no special development in this regard,” said the spokesperson of Iran’s Foreign Ministry.
The Army has carried out two drone training exercises since January 2021. On July 19, Kioumars Heydari, head of the ground force of the Iranian Army, announced that Tehran was prepared to supply weapons and military hardware, including unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), to “friendly countries.”
In mid-May, it was reported that Iran established a drone factory in Tajikistan to produce the Ababil-2 tactical surveillance drone, which has a range of 100 kilometers.
In early August, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard announced that it had performed joint drone operations with Russia at the Kashan Air Base, noting that Belarus and Armenia also participated in the exercises.
Iran Unveils New Drones In Underground Base
On the second day of its nationwide drone war exercises, the Iranian Army also unveiled an underground military base housing its latest unmanned aircraft vehicles. The state media also released a video of that facility.
— Middle East Update (@islamicworldupd) August 25, 2022
The first segment of the video shows two or three drones in an underground facility, while the final section shows one drone ascending to the sky. The exact location of the underground facility is unknown.
Vice Admiral Mahmoud Mousavi, the spokesperson for the drone exercises, stated on Thursday, August 25, that on the second day of the training, actual weapons were used to destroy several dummy targets that resembled “sensitive and vital” facilities.
He continued by saying that the Kaman, Mohajer, Ababil, Karrar, and Bavar drones employed indigenous weapons such Qa’em bombs, Almas missiles, and MK-82 bombs to attack targets like command and control centers, fuel tanks, ammo depots, radar, and missile systems.
According to Mousavi, the four Army units, the Ground Force, Navy, Air Force, and Air Defense Force, used a range of combat drones to strike the predetermined targets in the exercise area, which essentially encompasses all of Iran’s territory and important southern waters.
In recent years, the Iranian military has improved its drone capabilities. In July, while US President Joe Biden was visiting the Middle East, the Iranian Army displayed its first division of ships and submarines that could launch armed drones. In May, a drone air base located beneath the Zagros mountain range in the west of the nation was shown on state television.
Iran has been accused of using drones and missiles to strike US forces and Israeli-affiliated ships in the Gulf by its arch-enemies, the US and Israel. On the other hand, Israel has also been training with its advanced stealth fighter jet to simulate attacks on Iran’s nuclear sites.