Monday, November 19, 2012

Iran launches ‘biggest ever’ military air drills

 By Tom Chapman | November 14, 2012 at 7:57 am

DUBAI — Iran launched military drills across half the country on Monday, warning it would act against aggressors less than a week after Washington accused Iranian warplanes of firing on a U.S. drone.
The maneuvers take place this week across 850,000 square kilometers of Iran’s northeast, east, and southeast regions, Iranian media reported.
About 8,000 elite and regular army troops will participate, backed by bombers and fighter planes, while missile, artillery and surveillance systems will be tested, they said.
Played out against a backdrop of high tension between the United States and Iran over Tehran’s nuclear program, the “Velayat-4″ maneuvers will involve the biggest air drills the country has ever held, Iran’s English-language Press TV said.
Western experts have challenged some of Iran’s military assertions, saying it often exaggerates its capabilities.
“These drills convey a message of peace and security to regional countries,” Shahrokh Shahram, spokesman for the exercises, told Press TV on Monday. “At the same time they send out a strong warning to those threatening Iran.”
Last week, the U.S. Pentagon said Iranian planes opened fire on an unarmed U.S. drone over international waters on November 1. Iran said it had repelled “an enemy’s unmanned aircraft” violating its airspace.
Senior researcher Pieter Wezeman of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute said an international arms embargo imposed against Iran meant the country was using outdated military equipment, including aircraft.
 “The U.N. embargo on supplies of most types of major weapons to Iran is blocking Iranian military modernization,” he said. “Iran is more and more falling behind in military terms.”
But London-based defense analyst Paul Beaver said Iran’s military should not be underestimated, describing it as “a pretty impressive organization”.
“They are busy out there modifying, adapting, and doing things to their technologies. They have made the most of what they have,” he said.
Western powers have imposed sanctions on Iran’s oil trade to press it to halt nuclear work they fear is aimed at developing the capability to build nuclear bombs. Iran denies the charge, saying its atomic activities are purely for peaceful purposes.
The United States and Israel have not ruled out military action if diplomacy fails to resolve the dispute.
Although the Iranian air drills come just days after the Pentagon’s announcement, the exercises appear to have been planned well in advance.
In September Farzad Esmaili, commander of the army’s air defense force, said Iran was planning a large-scale air drill in coming months.
Various radar and other fixed, tactical and airborne surveillance systems would participate, Esmaili told state news agency IRNA on Thursday. The exercise will also test bombers, refueling planes and unmanned aircraft, Esmaili said.
Iranian media said on Monday that F-4, F-5, F-7, and F-14 fighters would take part.
Shahram told IRNA the drills would also focus on improving coordination between Iran’s military and the elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
On Sunday, Revolutionary Guards Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh said Iran believed the U.S. drone was gathering intelligence on oil tankers off its shores.
Mohammad Ali Jafari, the Guards’ top commander, said his forces had acted well in repelling the drone. “If such intrusions take place in the future, we will protect our airspace,” Jafari said on Sunday, according to Press TV.
Iranian officials have threatened to strike U.S. military bases in the region and target Israel if the country is attacked.
Iran has carried out a number of military simulations this year, including the “Great Prophet 7″ missile exercises in July.
Iran’s air defense chief Gen. Farzad Esmaili boasted Tuesday, Nov. 12, that a new air defense system was successfully tested during a “massive” ongoing military exercise, which he said was “a message and a strong slap to those countries that threaten [us].”

Debkafile’s military sources report that the six-day Iranian air defense drill is Tehran’s answer to the joint three-week US-Israeli maneuver – Austere Challenge 2012 – which is drilling defenses against an Iranian or Syrian ballistic missile attack on Israel.

Monday, four US and Israeli Patriot anti-missiles missiles shot down four out of four mock Iranian missiles from the Israeli air base at Palmachim. Tuesday, the Iranians paraded a new air defense system modeled on the US Hawk system. Earlier reports said the new surface-to-air system is named “Mersad,” or Ambush. It was capable of locking on a flying object at a distance of 80 kilometers (50 miles) and able to hit from 45 kilometers (30 miles) away, Iranian state TV said.
The Iranians have apparently upgraded the American Hawk system, say our military sources, but not all its touted specifications are confirmed. Even if they are, Iran’s latest military exercise shows it cannot match missile interceptors on the high order of the US and Israeli Aegis, THAAD and Arrow. These systems are capable of pinpointing ballistic and cruise missiles the moment they are launched by means of the highly sophisticated US X-band radar stations, one of which is located in the Israeli Negev, and shooting them down hundreds of kilometers before they approach their targets.
The anti-missile systems launched from the Israeli coast Monday practiced for the first time US and Israeli ability to intercept Iranian cruise missiles speeding toward the Israeli shore from Iranian warships or merchant vessels cruising in the Mediterranean Sea or launched by Hizballah marines. Specialized Hizballah units have been trained in Iran of late in the handling of short-range cruise missiles launched from large commando speedboats.
American and other Western intelligence agencies have received word that Iran is outfitting with cruise missile launch pads civilian merchant vessels that would sail close to the Israeli coast in a war.
The US and Israeli planners of the joint maneuver are working on the assumption that the Iranian stealth drone which entered Israeli air space from Lebanon on Oct. 6, after spending an hour and twenty minutes over the Mediterranean, was performing a part in an Iranian-Hizballah exercise. This exercise is thought to have tested the use of an Iranian drone for guiding shipboard cruise missiles launched from the sea.
The UAV passed across Israeli skies, our military sources noted, at exactly the same time as a Palestinian Hamas military exercise took place in the Gaza Strip.
Tehran has clearly been building up to the present exercise. A week before the drone operation, Gen. Ferzad Ismaili, head of Iranian air defenses, said, “We may be faced with full-scale and all-out electronic warfare.”
The Iranian military exercise under way now over almost the entire eastern half of the country, with the participation of jet fighters, drones and more than 8,000 troops, is one of the most extensive of its kind to take place in recent months.
About the Author

Tom Chapman is a retired Army officer, teacher, computer manager, and
pilot. He has been a student of Biblical Prophecy for over 30 years. He not only has a passion for the prophetic but believes it is an integral part in the maturing process of a believer. The Bible has much to say about the times in which we live and every believer needs to understand the prophetic season of "the last days". To understand the present we also need to understand the future as it is foretold in scripture. Proverbs 29:18a tells us: "Where there is no revelation (prophetic vision), the people cast off restraint". The time is short and we must be ready (holy and righteous) to meet Jesus when He returns to claim His own.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Anyone have any thoughts about this?


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...