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Iran Conducts Massive Air Defense Drills

By Orkhan Jalilov November 25, 2019

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A missile launch from the Iranian Mersad-16 surface-to-air missile system during the air defense drill codenamed ‘Modafe’an-e Aseman-e Velayat 98 (Guardians of Velayat’s Sky-98) in the central Iranian province of Semnan conducted on November 21-22, 2019. / Fars News Agency

Iran’s armed forces conducted two-day joint military exercises in the central province of Semnan to boost preparedness in the face of possible threats in the Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz.

The large-scale military drill codenamed Modafe'an-e Aseman-e Velayat 98 (Guardians of Velayat’s Sky-98) was held in an area of over 416,000 square kilometers (161,000 square miles) in Semnan province from November 21-22, simulating the Persian Gulf general area and the strategic Strait of Hormuz, “to enhance its defense capabilities and to test modern military tactics and state-of-the-art equipment,” according to Iran’s Fars news agency.

“The first phase of the drill features detecting and identifying enemy targets, while in the next phase radar system will engage airborne targets,” Commander of the Iranian Army’s Air Defense Force Brigadier General Alireza Sabahifard said on November 21.

He warned against any violation of Iranian airspace, saying, “as we have successfully materialized our objectives during the ongoing military drill, if the enemies are mulling over a dream [attack on Iran] we will make them regret in the battlefield too.”

Various divisions of Iran’s army ground force focused on practicing the transfer of rapid reaction units via ground and air from across the country to operation zones.

Air force units began the second day of large-scale exercises using domestically-built missile and radar systems, to boost their counteroffensive power against aerial threats. The drill also included various types of homegrown missile systems and radars countering aerial threats in low, medium and high altitudes.

They have also deployed FAKOR mobile command and control systems, indigenous Meraj and Fath-2 radar systems, tactical information and identification systems, electronic warfare systems and Iran’s visual surveillance network used by the army’s air defense forces.

Tensions between Iran and the U.S. have escalated in recent months, following the deployment of U.S. military assets to the region after intelligence reports allegedly suggested a planned campaign by Iran and allies against American forces and interests in the Persian Gulf and Iraq.

The U.S. has accused Iran of sabotaging oil tankers in the nearby Gulf of Oman and conducting a missile and drone operations against oil facilities in its regional rival Saudi Arabia, while Tehran has denied these allegations.