Mon Dec 26, 2016 7:58AM
A file photo of Iranian Army fighter jets in flight during a parade (by AP)
A file photo of Iranian Army fighter jets in flight during a parade (by AP)

The Iranian Army and the Aerospace Division of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) have started comprehensive joint air defense drills in the country’s south.

Codenamed Modafean Aseman Velayat 7 (The Defenders of Velayat Skies 7), the drills kicked off early Monday on the orders of Brigadier General Farzad Esmaili, the commander of the IRGC’s Khatam al-Anbiya Air Defense Base.

The three-day maneuvers take place over an area measuring 496,000 square kilometers (308,000 square miles) throughout Iran’s southern, southeastern, and southwestern parts, the skies above which constitute the country’s most frequented ones.

Brigadier General Farzad Esmaili, the commander of the IRGC’s Khatam al-Anbiya Air Defense Base oversees drills, December 26, 2016. (Photo by Fars)

The drills seek to hone coordination among the different divisions of the Armed Forces employed to defend the country’s airspace. They will be held in two stages on the first day.

During the first stage, various defensive apparatuses falling under the integrated command and control center operated jointly by the Army and the Airbase, including radar, missile, artillery, communication and electronic surveillance systems, were scrambled to designated positions.

The exercises, which involve around 17,000 military personnel members, simulate intense and large-scale electronic warfare.

The Army Air Force’s aircraft, including F-4 Phantoms, are also taking part in the exercises. Domestic and foreign planes have been cautioned to stay away from the drill zone.

The second stage in the afternoon focused on practicing intelligence gathering during reconnaissance missions and capturing aerial footage from designated targets in the sea using reconnaissance drones.

Domestically-built radars of Fath (Conquest) 2, Matla’el-Fajr (the Emergence of Dawn), tapping devices and mobile outposts for visual monitoring were also deployed during the drills to collect intelligence and relay the data to decision-making centers, including the Army’s Ra’d (Thunder) Tactical Air Defense Base.

The participating forces also carried out crisis management exercises to counter psychological warfare.

The second phase also deployed low-, medium-, and high-range missile systems.