TEHRAN (Dispatches) – Iran’s air defense units on Wednesday launched a large-scale military exercise covering more than half of the country’s territories.
The joint air defense exercise, codenamed Guardians of Velayat Sky-99, is held with the participation of air defense units from the Army and the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC).
Various types of homegrown missile systems, radars, electronic warfare equipment, and communication systems have been employed to practice countering aerial threats in low, medium and high altitudes.
Organizers say the drill is aimed at boosting the combat preparedness and consolidate air defense capabilities of the Iranian armed forces in simulated real-war conditions.
Iranian fighter jets, bombers and drones are participating in the exercises.
On Wednesday, air defense units carried out jamming operations against mock hostile drones and successfully took control of them, preventing them from reaching the drill zone, which covers more than half of the country.
The maneuvers featured different types of homegrown missiles, radar systems, reconnaissance, electronic warfare and communication systems as well as an optical surveillance network.
During the first stage, the deployment of defense systems, including missile and radar systems, was drilled with an emphasis on mobility and rapid response, said Second Brigadier General Abbas Farajpour, the spokesman for the maneuvers. Passive defense strategy and deception techniques were applied.
Domestically-built Fakour (Thoughtful) and Ashura Tactical Command and Control Systems (ATCCSs), besides homegrown Moraqeb (Vigilant), Fath-2 (Conquest-2) and Bashir radar systems, tactical reconnaissance systems, electro-optical systems, electronic warfare systems and the visual monitoring network of the Army were also tested, according to the spokesman for the maneuvers.
Farajpour said new defense systems and hardware will be tested and evaluated operationally during the exercise. "They will be showcased in the future, and their capabilities will be used to boost our deterrence and defense might.”
The exercises come after a United Nations conventional arms embargo on the Islamic Republic expired on Sunday.
President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday hailed the lifting of the arms embargo as the victory of the logic of law and truth over bullying, saying the U.S. failed in its plots to deprive the Iranians of their right to free trade in defensive equipment.
"Sunday marked the lifting of the arms embargo, which was very important for our people, not because we are now free to buy and sell weapons, but more importantly, because the logic of law and truth won against force and bullying,” he told a cabinet session.
"The Americans have been trying for years to deprive the Iranian nation of its rights. The Iranian people must be free to buy or sell weapons whenever they want and need them; therefore, upholding the people’s rights was very important, and on Sunday it became evident that the Americans’ conspiracies were unsuccessful.”
Iran has said it is self-reliant in its defense and has no need to go on a weapons buying spree.
"Iran’s defense doctrine is premised on strong reliance on its people and indigenous capabilities ... Unconventional arms, weapons of mass destruction and a buying spree of conventional arms have no place in Iran’s defense doctrine,” said a Foreign Ministry statement on Sunday.
Iran has developed a large domestic arms industry in the face of sanctions and embargoes that have barred it from importing many weapons.