The Islamic Republic of Iran Army has started a large-scale drone drill, which features hundreds of sophisticated reconnaissance and combat drones.
Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari, the deputy chief of the Iranian Army for Coordination, said on Tuesday that nearly 200 drones cover strategic waters of the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman, all four corners of the country and its central part.
According to Sayyari, the surveillance drones, operated by the four units of the Army, namely the Ground Force, Navy, Air Force and Air Defense Force, successfully carried out their intelligence-gathering and patrol missions on the first day of the Army’s 1402 joint drone military exercise.
“Homegrown Chamorosh, Yasir, Sadeq, Pelican vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) naval drone, Ababil-3 tactical surveillance unmanned aerial vehicle, Yazdan, Ababil-4, Ababil-5, Kaman-12 (Bow-12) and Kaman-19 drones in addition to Mohajer-6 ISTAR aircraft were flown from different bases across Iran,” he said.
He added that the drones monitored the country’s frontiers and identified designated targets in the general zone of the exercise as well as international waters.
“Due to the expansion of unmanned aerial capabilities, execution of various and numerous drone missions, and the need to coordinate such flights, the Army has as set up Zolfaqar command and control network for the drone operations,” Sayyari said.
“This exercise exhibits only a small fraction of the achievements made by the Islamic Republic of Iran Army in connection with domestically-developed drones,” he pointed out.
Iran has made great progress in the drone industry in recent years.
Last month, Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Baqeri said the scope of foreign demand for sophisticated unmanned aerial vehicles developed and manufactured indigenously by the country’s military specialists is much larger than its production capacity.
Iran was once under arms embargoes on the purchase of foreign-made weapons, but now the Islamic Republic is faced with bans on the export of its domestically developed military products, Baqeri said on September 18.
“Today, the (number of) customers of our drones are several times more than our production capacity,” Major General Baqeri said, adding that “major world powers” are vying to purchase Iranian weapons.
Iran has turned into a “big drone power” that is outperforming major world powers, the commander said.