TEHRAN (FNA)- The Iranian Army’s Ground Force will stage massive drone exercises late September, a senior army commander announced on Monday.
“The Army Ground Force’s drone drills will be staged in the Sacred Defense Week (commemorating Iranians’ sacrifices during the 8 years of Iraqi imposed war on Iran in 1980s),” Lieutenant Commander of the Iranian Ground Force Brigadier General Kioumars Heidari said.
Commander of the Ground Force Brigadier General Ahmad Reza Pourdastan had announced in April that his forces would stage 4 massive drills, including drone and cyber wargames, in the current Iranian year (started on March 21).
“We staged 5 sets of drills last year and this year we will have 4 massive exercises on the agenda, including the Ground Force’s drone drills which will be staged for the first time, and also cyber wargames,” Pourdastan said in a press conference in Tehran on the occasion of the National Army Day (April 18).
He said that his forces also plan to stage 2 joint drills with the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) in the Southwestern and Southeastern parts of the country.
The Iranian Armed Forces have recently test-fired different types of newly-developed missiles and torpedoes and tested a large number of home-made weapons, tools and equipment, including submarines, military ships, artillery, choppers, aircrafts, UAVs and air defense and electronic systems, during massive military drills.
Defense analysts and military observers say that Iran’s wargames and its advancements in weapons production have proved as a deterrent factor.
Iran has recently made giant advancements in aerospace industries, specially in designing and manufacturing pilotless drones.
Last month, Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps Navy Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi announced that the IRGC has established drone bases around the strategic Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf, adding that the pilotless planes have been equipped with home-made mid-range missiles.
Also in December, Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari said the IRGC is capable of mounting guided missiles and bombs on its drones.
“We have recently acquired the capability to mount guided and precision-targeting missiles with pinpointing capability and bombs on drones, which is actually among branches of advanced hi-tech in this field,” Jafari told reporters in Tehran.
He referred to Iran’s latest achievements in building drones, and said, “Our latest achievement in this regard is a drone which can fly for 30 hours and high-speed engines can increase its range.”
Also in November, Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan announced that Iran’s new drone enjoys unique strategic capabilities, including 30-hour-long flight durability, and has been developed for combat and surveillance missions.
Dehqan said the new drone, ‘Fotros’, has been designed and built by the Iranian Airplane Manufacturing Industries Company affiliated to the Defense Ministry’s Aviation Industries in cooperation with knowledge-based companies and academic centers and on the basis of the needs of the country’s Armed Forces.
“This strategic drone has an operational range of 2,000 kilometers, and can fly to a ceiling of 25,000 feet in altitude for 16 to 30 hours, and these specifications enable it to conduct combat missions in addition to surveillance and reconnaissance missions,” Dehqan said, addressing a ceremony held in Tehran to unveil the new drone.
The minister said Fotros can be armed with various types of “air-to-surface missiles and rockets”.
He underlined that the reliability test of the drone has been successfully conducted in the country’s laboratories and test centers, including standard international land tests at low, medium and high speed, adding that test results have been even better than what was expected.
The minister further pointed to the missions which could be done by Fotros in detail, and said the drone can be used for “protecting land and sea borders, monitoring oil pipelines, telecommunication lines and road traffic control, monitoring affected areas during earthquakes, blaze and floods, and environment protection”, adding that it can send “real-time photos and images while it is on a missions”.
He reiterated that Iran’s Defense Ministry has become self-sufficient in designing and manufacturing different kinds of defensive, offensive and surveillance drones.
General Dehqan underlined that Iranian researchers are currently working on various models and designs of drones according to the country’s defensive needs.
Also in September 2012, Iran announced that it has started using UAVs for its air defense units as part of its broader plans for strengthening the country’s air defense capability.
Speaking to reporters on the occasion of the National Day of Air Defense here in Tehran on September 3, 2012, Commander of Iran’s Air Defense Unit Brigadier General Farzad Esmayeeli said Iran has equipped its air defense units with Haazem drones. Haazem is a drone designed and manufactured by Iranian air defense experts in three short, mid and long range models and for air defense missions.
The drone can be used as a target for air defense systems and also for reconnaissance missions.
The UAV can also be equipped with missiles and used for aerial bombardments as well.
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