Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) on Wednesday opened a new airbase in Zahedan, the provincial capital of Sistan and Baluchestan, state media reported.
The Shahid Ali Arabi airbase will house and support IRGC’s helicopter and drone fleet, Fars News Agency reported on May 10.
"IRGC combat engineers and domestic specialists equipped this base by drawing on the latest technical-engineering protocols and based on aviation standards, so that various types of attack, combat and support helicopters and drones could both land and take off," the report added.
IRGC Ground Force Commander Brig Gen Mohammad Pakpour said that the airbase will enhance the helicopter fleet’s capabilities for defense, rescue, logistics, and relief missions in the region.
Pakpour added the base would have the capacity to host dozens of helicopters, and to offer refuelling and repair facilities.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, IRGC Commander-in-Chief Maj Gen Hossein Salami said, "This base has been designed and created to play an important role in the lives and security of the inhabitants of the region".
Sistan-Baluchestan Province, which is situated on the borders with Afghanistan and Pakistan, is used by various militant groups and often serves as an entry point for smuggled drugs and arms.
In order to bolster Iran’s defense against “enemy threats”, the Army and the IRGC kicked off large-scale air defense exercises in a number of regions across the country on February 28.
The IRGC Air Force unveiled subterranean tunnels used for the storage of air defense missile systems. A series of air defense systems are kept in the underground tunnels, raised when needed, and returned to the earlier position later.
The Air Force unveiled its first underground military base on February 7. The tactical subterranean airbase named Oghab-44 (Eagle-44) can accommodate and prepare various aircraft – including fighter jets, bombers, and unmanned aerial vehicles – for missions.
This large underground base consists of various sections, such as an alert area, command post, warplane hangars, repair and maintenance center, navigation and airport equipment, and fuel tanks.