Iran’s air defense system operational by March 2018: Cmdr.

Press TV- A senior Iranian commander says the domestically-built Bavar-373 air defense system has been tested and will be employed alongside the Russian-made S-300 missile defense system by March 2018.

Brigadier General Farzad Esmaili, the commander of the Iranian Army’s Khatam al-Anbiya Air Defense Base, said during a TV program on Saturday that all of the Bavar-373 sub-systems have been completed and its missile tests have been conducted.

The Bavar-373 “is made completely in Iran and some of its parts are different from those of S-300,” he said, adding the country wants to use the Bavar-373 alongside the Russian S-300 system which it received in 2016.

The Bavar-373 will be handed over to Khatam al-Anbiya Air Defense Base by the end of the new Persian calendar year in March 2018 and put into operation as soon as it is delivered to the base, he said.

Long-range radar

Touching on Iran’s technological achievements, Esmaili said Iranian scientists have manufactured an over-the-horizon (OTH) radar with a range of 3,000 kilometers so that the country “can feel the enemy’s breath.”

On Saturday, the new defense minister Amir Hatami said Iran has “a specific plan to boost missile power,” adding he hoped “the combat capabilities of Iran’s ballistic and cruise missiles” would increase in the next four years.

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani (3rd L) and former Defense Minister Hossein Dehqan (2nd L) stand in front of the new air defense missile system Bavar-373, in Tehran, August 21, 2016.

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani (3rd L) and  former Defense Minister Hossein Dehqan (2nd L) stand in front of the new air defense missile system Bavar-373, in Tehran, August 21, 2016.

Warnings to US spy planes

Elsewhere in his comments, Esmaili said Khatam al-Anbiya Air Defense Base had issued warnings to US reconnaissance aircraft on two separate occasions on March 21 and August 26.

In the first incident, an American U2 spy plane capable of flying up to 80,000 feet was given a warning at the same time by two radar stations of the Khatam al-Anbiya Air Defense Base as it was confirmed to be approaching Iran’s borders.

“The aircraft’s pilot whose uniform was designed not to reflect the radar’s waves had to respond because the missile defense systems of the Air Defense Base and Air Force fighters as well as IRGC’s drones were ready to confront it,” Esmaili said.

“In another case at 6:30 a.m. on September 4 this year, an American RQ-4 aircraft was warned by the Air Defense Base. We do not allow such filthy aircraft to enter our territory and, if necessary, we do not hesitate in destroying them,” he added.

In recent years, Iran has upgraded its military capabilities, including its air defense system, through deploying both indigenous and foreign weapons systems.

The Islamic Republic practices a military doctrine of deterrence.