Iran’s Air Force has started military maneuvers recruiting the service of all the bases under its command throughout the country.

The two-day drills, codenamed Fada’ian-e Harim-e Velayat 7 (Death-defying Defenders of Velayat’s Sanctuary) 7, began on Tuesday morning.

Brigadier General Massoud Rouzkhosh, the spokesman for the drills, had said on Monday that the Air Force’s Shahid Babayi Airbase in Iran’s central Isfahan Province would be playing the pivotal role among the bases.

Dozens of the Air Force’s strategic Sukho-24, F-4, F-5, F-7, F-14, MiG-29, and Sa’egheh (Lightning bolt) fighter bombers would be participating in the maneuvers, alongside interceptor and refueling aircraft, as well as manned and unmanned reconnaissance planes, Boeing 707 and 747 cargo planes, and logistical aircraft.

The Air Force is scheduled to drill air-to-surface and surface-to-air firing, and test-fire highly-destructive air-to-air munitions, as well as to practice aerial fire control and surveillance.

The missiles to be used are of the laser-guided, television-guided, radar-guided, and thermal types.

According to Rouzkhosh, the exercises carry the message of security, stability, friendship, and lasting peace for the countries of the region.

Speaking upon the launch of the exercises, the commander said that the drills would first witness flying of manned and unmanned surveillance aircraft, which would gather and relay information from predetermined targets.

Subsequently, the F-5 and Sa’egheh fighter planes would release 500-pound (226-kg) bombs onto airstrips, radar stations, rocket launch sites, fuel depos, and ammunition dumps. The F-7 aircraft, he added, would also fire smart and precision bombs and domestically-produced rockets at mock enemy forces.

New radar unveiled

A picture taken on October 30, 2017 shows Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami attending a ceremony held to unveil the Afaq (Horizons) radar system in the capital, Tehran.

On the eve of the maneuvers, Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami unveiled a new radar system named Afaq (Horizons), which has been developed by the electronics industries associated with the Defense Ministry.

The radar, he said, would be used for coastline surveillance, adding that it could monitor a 200-kilometer-long stretch and reconnoiter airborne targets as well.

The system has remarkable electronic warfare technological capabilities and could monitor and track as many as 100 mobile targets simultaneously, the Iranian defense chief said.

Iran says its military doctrine is one of deterrence and would only be used in combat if the country is attacked.