The Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force (IRIAF) has launched two days of military exercises, involving bombers, drones and missiles, with the aim of testing its capabilities in protecting the country’s airspace against possible enemy threats.
The eighth edition of the annual drills, dubbed Defenders of Velayat Skies, began at Shahid Babaei Air Base in the central province of Isfahan on Thursday following days of preparations.
The maneuvers will put to test dozens of bombers, hunter and interceptor jets as well as transport, refueling, reconnaissance and patrolling aircraft besides unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
The war games would feature Sukhoi Su-24, F-4 and F-7 Phantoms, MiG-29, F-14 jets, Being 707 and 7047 aerial refueling planes and C-130 Hercules transport aircraft, along with drones equipped with precision strike missiles and long-range smart bombs.
Domestically-manufactured rockets and bombs as well as laser-guided, anti-radar and thermal missiles will be put to test during the exercises.
The drills’ spokesman, Second Brigadier General Alireza Angizeh, said in addition to Shahid Babaei, other air bases across the country would contribute to the maneuvers.
In the course of the drills, Iranian air forces will practice air-to-air shooting and shooting against aerial targets as well as using smart, indigenous and upgraded bombs, he added.
Over the past years, Iran has made major breakthroughs in its defense sector and attained self-sufficiency in producing military equipment and hardware despite sanctions and economic pressures on the country.