TEHRAN (Dispatches) -- The Iranian army on Wednesday tested its advanced surveillance and reconnaissance unmanned aircraft on the second day of maneuvers taking place across a "sensitive” stretch of the country’s southeastern coastline.
The drills, codenamed Eqtedar (Strength) 99, began on Tuesday along the Makran coastal area with the participation of the army’s rapid-response brigades.
The event began as part of sweeping military exercises that have been underway to test the Iranian military’s defense readiness and send a message to the country’s enemies.
The exercises continued on Wednesday, with drone squads taking center stage.
The army said the aircraft managed to both survey the entire assault course and identify all foreign vessels sailing in nearby international waters during their reconnaissance operations.
The drones, it added, included the latest variation of the country’s drones, namely Mohajer-6, which is capable of being used in combined surveillance and combat operations and boasts enhanced flight endurance. The drone has successfully been used by Iran in a number of anti-terror operations in recent years.
The army statement named one of the achievements during the Wednesday maneuvers as the forces’ simultaneous deployment of army drones, various types of helicopters, and transport aircraft within a short time span.
Army gunships fitted with nighttime flight systems were flown for the first time in support of the rapid-response brigades. The helicopters deployed firepower against stationary and mobile targets across the coastline to enable the brigades’ advances.
Over the past several weeks, Iran’s army and the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) have staged a series of maneuvers. The exercises have coincided with a provocative show of force by the United States and its allies in the region, featuring repeated flights over the Persian Gulf and dispatch of American warships to the region.
Speaking on the sidelines of the Wednesday maneuvers, Chief Commander of the Iranian Army Major General Abdolrahim Mousavi announced that the ground force "is capable of conducting special and combined operations.”
"Combined operations are among the most complicated operations usually conducted by rapid response and professional brigades,” he said.
The most recent stage of the maneuvers that took place in one of the country’s sensitive spots involved a combination of military equipment, many-skilled servicemen, and multi-purpose military units, the commander noted.
The ground force’s professional brigades, Mousavi said, showed that they are at the highest level of combat readiness.
The drills, he added, "actually serve as a response to the enemies of the nation and the ill-wishers of Iran’s great establishment that they would regret taking any move that could be based on miscalculation.”
Mousavi said Iran’s forces are ready to defend the nation "until the last drop of their blood.