The Russian and Iranian naval forces recently conducted a two-day joint drill in the Gulf of Oman and in the northwestern part of the Indian Ocean.
"In the daytime, Russian and Iranian navy sailors held artillery practice at surface targets. In the night, Russian and Iranian ships will practice exchanging light signals and anti-sabotage defense of ships in an unprotected waterway," Russia’s Interfax news agency quoted a statement made by the Russian Baltic Sea Fleet as saying on 15 February.
The exercise codenamed “Iran-Russia Maritime Security Belt 2021” took place on 15-16 February. On 16 February, Russian and Iranian sailors were scheduled to practice joint maneuvers, free a merchant vessel captured by pirates and extinguish a simulated fire on a vessel in distress, the report added.
The exercise involved the Russian corvette Stoyky and the Kola tanker. The Iranian navy ships involved in the drill included the frigate Jamaran, the corvette Nahdi, the missile boats Falakhan, Gardouneh and Tondar, the patrol boat Mahmudi and the auxiliary vessels Nazeri and Lavan.
Surface and airborne units of the Iranian Navy and the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Navy would take part in the Iran-Russia Marine Security Belt Combined Exercises from the Iranian part, the spokesman for the maneuvers, Admiral Gholamreza Tahani said, according to Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA).
The drills held in an area of 17,000 square kilometers and focused on tactical exercises like rescuing a vessel on fire, freeing a vessel under attack, firing on targets, and night-time firing on flying objects.
The drills aimed to strengthen maritime trade security, confront piracy and naval terrorism, and exchange information and experiences in rescue operations.
Earlier, Russia's ambassador to Iran said his country would hold naval drills with Iran and China in the northern Indian Ocean in the middle of February, which would include search and rescue operations.
The three countries held a similar exercise in December 2019. The joint Iranian-Russian-Chinese naval drills, codenamed Marine Security Belt, were held on 27-30 December 2019, in the Gulf of Oman and in the northern parts of the Indian Ocean. Drill exercises included patrolling, identification and homing in certain areas, forming offensive arrangements against known threats and shooting and destroying targets.