The commander of the Iranian Army’s Air Force says there has been a significant increase in the force’s drone capability compared to a year before.
Brigadier General Hamid Vahedi made the remarks while briefing Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei on Wednesday in Tehran during a meeting of a group of Iranian Air Force commanders and personnel with the Leader.
Referring to the achievements of the Air Force during last year, Vahedi said that “the drone power has increased by 33 percent.”
Elsewhere in his remarks, the commander pointed to a host of other achievements, including designing and manufacturing piston and turbine engines, producing F-14 fighter jet simulators, overhauling 29 fighter jets, and aerial refueling in the Persian Gulf region to “counter threats.”
The Leader also addressed officers in the meeting which is held annually on February 8 to mark the day when Iranian Air Force commanders and personnel made a historic declaration of allegiance to the late founder of the Islamic Republic Imam Khomeini in 1979.
Iranian experts have made giant strides in boosting defense power by producing various equipment, including different types of drones.
90 countries seeking to buy Iranian drones
“Ninety countries seek to buy Iran-made drones, and Westerners and the arrogant countries cannot tolerate this,” an advisor to Iran’s intelligence minister said on Wednesday while addressing a local ceremony in Qazvin.
Today, Western states, the US, and the Israeli regime cannot stand Iran’s “defense might” in the region, he added.
The remarks come as a recently-published article in the American National Interest magazine acknowledged that decades-long US sanctions against Iran have failed to disrupt its drone program.
“For years, the United States has imposed sanctions against Iran’s military complex and manufacturing base, including entities like IAIO [Quds Aviation and Aerospace Industries Organization], HESA [Iran Aircraft Manufacturing Industries Corporation] ... Nevertheless, Iran’s aerospace sector and drone industry have continued to expand and thrive,” Eric Lob and Edward Riehle wrote.
"Iran has manufactured and operated military drones since the Iran-Iraq War in the mid-1980s. With over thirty-three models, Iran’s highly developed, sophisticated military drone complex comprises one of the four pillars of its security strategy and force structure,” they added.
"Drones have increasingly offered an asymmetric advantage to Iran," they pointed out, adding, "Drones have also enabled Iran to project power and earn profits, showcase technology and enhance prestige, strengthen alliances in the Middle East and beyond."
‘Iran to continue boosting drone power’
Back on December 25, 2022, Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Baqeri said that Iran will proceed with its plans to promote its drone capabilities and will cooperate with other countries in the drone industry to meet the country’s needs.
Stressing that Iran is among the world’s top five powers in the unmanned aerial vehicles industry, he hailed the joint efforts made by the armed forces, universities, and knowledge-based companies to improve the country’s drone power.
Iran-made drones can carry out various missions with great accuracy and flight endurance, he said.
Iranian officials have repeatedly warned that the country will not hesitate to strengthen its military capabilities, including its missile power, which are entirely meant for defense, saying the Islamic Republic’s defense capabilities will be never subject to negotiations.
Ayatollah Khamenei has repeatedly called for efforts to maintain and boost Iran’s defense capabilities, hitting back at the enemies for disputing the country’s missile program.