Air Force Stages Large-Scale Maneuvers

Air Force Stages Large-Scale ManeuversAir Force Stages Large-Scale Maneuvers

Iran's Air Force has started military maneuvers involving all the bases under its command throughout the country. The two-day drills, codenamed Defenders of Velayat's Sanctuary 7, began on Tuesday morning, Press TV reported.

Lieutenant General Masoud Rouzkhosh, the spokesman for the drills, had said on Monday Air Force's Shahid Babaei Airbase in the central province of Isfahan, where the drills are being staged, would play a pivotal role among the bases.

Dozens of Air Force's strategic Sukhoi-24, F-4, F-5, F-7, F-14, MiG-29, and Saeqeh (Lightning) fighter jets are participating in the maneuvers, alongside interceptor and refueling aircraft, as well as manned and unmanned reconnaissance planes, Boeing 707 and 747 cargo planes and logistic aircraft.

The Air Force units are to practice air-to-surface and surface-to-air missiles and test-fire highly-destructive air-to-air munitions, in addition to conducting aerial fire control and surveillance.

Thermal, laser-, TV- and radar-guided missiles are being used. According to Rouzkhosh, the exercises carry "the message of security, stability, friendship and lasting peace" for regional countries.

Speaking on the launch of the wargame, the commander said the drills also employ manned and unmanned surveillance aircraft, which would gather and relay information from designated targets. Subsequently, the F-5 and Saeqeh fighter planes were to release 500-pound (226-kg) bombs onto mock airstrips, radar stations, rocket launch sites, fuel depots and ammunition dumps.

The F-7 aircraft, he added, would also fire smart and precision bombs and domestically-produced rockets at hypothetical enemy targets.

On the eve of the maneuvers, Defense Minister Lieutenant General Amir Hatami unveiled a new radar system named Afaq (Horizons), which has been developed by the electronics industries associated with the Defense Ministry. The radar, he said, would be used for coastline surveillance, adding that it could monitor a 200-kilometer-long stretch and reconnoiter airborne targets as well.

Hatami noted that the system has remarkable electronic warfare capabilities and could monitor and track as many as 100 mobile targets simultaneously.

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