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Iran’s armed forces launch specialized joint air defense exercises

Brigadier General Ghader Rahimzadeh, the commander of Khatam al-Anbia Air Defense Base, makes an address during the beginning of the "Defenders of Velayat Skies 1402" drills on Thursday, Jan. 18, 2024. (Photo by Mehr News)

Iranian armed forces have launched specialized joint air defense exercises in the country’s southwest, south and southeast regions.

Dubbed Defenders of Velayat Skies 1402, the drill began Thursday with the participation of the Air Defense Force of the Army, the Aerospace Force of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), the Air Force of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Navy of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Navy of the IRGC, and parts of the Army's ground forces under the operational control of the Khatam al-Anbiya Joint Air Defense Base.

The exercises are held in an area spanning 583 km, which stretches from the southern coast strip to 400 km deep inside the country and up to air surveillance areas.

“The exercise is conducted in a completely realistic environment, where in the first stage, defense systems carry out the assigned mission with a quick response approach of the operational forces in accordance with the principles of passive defense,” its spokesman Brigadier General Abbas Farajpour said.

“Meanwhile, the establishment of secure and multi-layered communications among the defense systems and the command and control centers of the integrated air defense network of the country to make timely decisions in the event of threats” is practiced, he added.

In the first stage of the drill, held in one third of the country's airspace, intelligence and reconnaissance flights were conducted by manned and unmanned aircraft of the Army and the IRGC.

Also, operational and defensive measures were carried out by indigenous detection, interception and engagement systems against hypothetical attacking aircraft.

Gen. Farajpour said the use of completely indigenous air defense systems are one of the remarkable features of the exercise.

The command and control centers in the exercise use highly advanced and indigenous active and passive radar systems which utilize signal and electro-optical readouts to monitor the exercise area.

“As soon as they discover the hostile target using the observation network in the discovery, they enact the defense system appropriate to the target in the operational circuit to counter it,” he added.

According to Gen. Farajpour, all the detection, identification, interception and engagement systems used by the air defense units of the army and the IRGC in the exercise have been produced by the young industrialists of Iran’s armed forces and defense industries.

“With their firm belief in the slogan 'We can', they have been able to achieve eye-catching success under the heaviest sanctions and pressures,” he added.

The aim of the exercise, Gen. Farajpour said, is to “show the strength, high morale, faith and martyrdom-seeking of the armed forces, so that the noble nation of Iran can see this authority and strength and be more proud of it”.

“The formation of safe layers of air defense to protect the air borders of the Islamic Republic of Iran as well as the all-round defense of the sensitive and vital centers of the country is one of the goals of this exercise,” he said.

This “is achieved with the skill and intelligence of the young staff and operational forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran Army and the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps under the guidance and operational control of the integrated network of the country's joint air defense base on a 24-hour basis,” he added.

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