The Iranian Army and Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) wrapped up joint aerial wargames codenamed ‘Modafe’an-e Aseman-e Velayat 99’ (Guardians of Velayat’s Sky-99) on Thursday.
The two-day joint aerial drills codenamed ‘Modafe’an-e Aseman-e Velayat 99’ (Guardians of Velayat’s Sky-99) wrapped up successfully on Thursday after displaying the state-of-the-art equipment and modern capacities of the Iranian Armed Forces in a vast expanse spreading in almost half of the country’s area, Lieutenant Commander of Khatam al-Anbia Air Defense Base Brigadier General Qader Rahimzadeh announced on Thursday.
The wargame, which was launched in a vast area on Wednesday succeeded to achieve all its predesigned objectives, Rahimzadeh said.
Using home-made defense equipment and systems was of great importance during the military maneuver, he said, adding, “All the equipment and systems used in this wargame (including reconnaissance, missile, radar, electronic warfare, etc.) have been produced by the skilled experts and elites of Armed Forces and defense industry of the country.”
“The wargame was the first of its kind that was launched with completely Iran-made defense systems,” the commander added.
Lieutenant Commander of Khatam al-Anbia Air Defense Base Brigadier General Qader Rahimzadeh
“Since long-range threats have been turned into one of the main threats to the airspace, tackling these threats has been put on top of the agenda. The domestically made Bavar-373 defense missile system hit its long-range targets in a real wargame.”
In relevant remarks on Thursday, Brigadier General Qader Rahimzadeh announced the Iranian Air Defense Force’s capability to trace and destroy electro-optic-guided targets.
“Today, with God’s assistance, the Air Defense Force has gained the capability to confront the electro-optic-guided targets,” said General Rahimzadeh, also the commander of the joint Iranian Army and the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) aerial drills staged on Wednesday and Thursday.
The Iranian Army and IRGC started two-day aerial drills on Wednesday.
Iran’s home-made strategic missile defense system Bavar 373 could successfully intercept and destroy an electro-optic-guided target during the wargames codenamed ‘Modafe’an-e Aseman-e Velayat 99’ (Guardians of Velayat’s Sky-99) on Thursday.
Bavar 373 for the first time within the framework of Iran’s integrated air defense network, successfully detected, intercepted, fired and destroyed a target with a very low radar cross-section.
Iran unveiled the state-of-the-art surface-to-air Bavar 373 missile defense system, designed and manufactured by the country’s experts, in August 2019.
It is a mobile missile defense system designed to intercept and destroy incoming hostile targets. The system employs missiles that have a maximum range of 300 kilometers.
The system is capable of simultaneously detecting up to 300 targets, tracking 60 targets at once and engaging six targets at a time.
Earlier on Thursday, the Iranian Army and the IRGC’s home-made phased-array radar systems detected and traced aggressive hostile flying objects during their joint aerial drills.
Qadir, Moraqeb and Bashir radars of the IRGC Aerospace Force and the Army Air Force detected flying targets over the general zone of the exercises, including manned and unmanned aircraft of the IRGC Aerospace Force and Army Air Force, which flew from various bases on the second day of massive aerial drills on Thursday.
After detection and tracing, the three powerful radars provided information on the discovered flying targets to the country’s integrated air defense network.
The IRGC in 2014 unveiled Qadir phased array radar system.
The radar which can detect hostile flying objects up to 300km in altitude and 1,100km in distance was tested in Payambar-e Azam (the great messenger) 6 wargames in 2011.
The powerful radar is capable of detecting flying targets, radar-evading fighter jets and drones, cruise and ballistic missiles and low-orbit satellites.
Moraqeb is also one of the pioneering precise 3D phased array systems with a range of 400km which can trace micro-size targets in low and mid altitude as well as drones and radar-evading flying objects.
On the first day of the drills on Wednesday, the Iranian Air Defense Force and the IRGC Aerospace Force’s Mersad and Tabas missile systems attacked hypothetical enemy targets.
The two indigenized missile systems successfully destroyed the aggressive drones of hypothetical enemy which were flying at mid altitude after being traced during the joint wargames by the Army and the IRGC.
Fire operations and rapid movement of defense systems from one location to other locations were among the measures taken in this stage of the drills, which were successfully carried out with the aim of preventing the hypothetical enemies to find the location of defense systems.
Also on Wednesday, the Iranian Army and IRGC forces exercised destruction of hypothetical enemy targets in high and mid altitudes by the powerful home-made Third of Khordad and Khordad 15 air defense systems during the joint aerial wargames on Wednesday.
The indigenized air defense systems of the IRGC Aerospace Force named Third of Khordad and the Army’s air defense shield named Khordad 15 successfully destroyed the aggressive targets during their joint wargames.
Also at this stage of the drills which started on Wednesday, hypothetical enemy drones tried to disrupt the function of the Air Defense’s radars by jamming to test their sustainability and capability to continue operations in electronic warfare conditions.
Meantime, electronic jamming operations on the aggressive drones to prevent their flying over the drills zone were successfully carried out.
Iran in June 2019 unveiled a new home-made state-of-the-art missile defense system named ‘Khordad 15’ which is equipped with passive phased array radar system for detecting fighter jets, stealth targets and cruise missiles.
The missile defense system was unveiled in a ceremony participated by Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami and Commander of the Iranian Army’s Khatam ol-Anbiya Air Defense Base Brigadier General Alireza Sabahi Fard in Tehran.
Elaborating on the features and capabilities of the defense shield, General Hatami said that it can trace targets, including fighter jets and enemy drones, 150km away and intercept them at a range of 120km.
“It can also trace stealth targets in areas 85km in distance, and destroy them at a distance of 45km,” he added.
General Hatami said that the missile defense system can trace, engage, and destroy 6 targets simultaneously, enjoys high mobility and can be prepared for operation in less than 5 minutes.
“The system is equipped with (passive) phased-array radar system with a multiple-target-engagement capability. It also has separate launch pads, and operates with Sayyad 3 missiles,” he underlined.
Also, Iran’s powerful defense system intercepted an intruder US Navy spy drone, MQ4-C Triton, over Iran’s territorial waters on June 20, 2019.
The IRGC shot down a US Navy’s Northrop Grumman MQ4-C Triton drone that had entered Iranian airspace in the Gulf Oman to gather intelligence, using Sevvom Khordad indigenous surface-to-air missile system.
The United States had confirmed that one of its reconnaissance planes was shot down by Iranian air defenses, but denied that it intruded into Tehran’s airspace at the time.
Commander of the IRGC Aerospace Force Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh said at the time that his forces could have also shot down a US P8 aircraft with 35 on board which was violating Iran’s airspace, but decided to shoot down the drone to only send a message to Washington.
“We intended to send a message to American terrorists in the region,” Brigadier General Hajizadeh said on June 21, 2019, adding that his forces had also traced a military P8 aircraft violating the airspace of Iran.
“Along with the American drone was an American P8 aircraft with 35 on board, and it was also violating our airspace and we could have downed it too,” he said, adding, “But we did not do (shoot down) it, because our aim was to warn the terrorist forces of the US.”
General Hajizadeh also stressed on June 22, 2019, that Iran was not after war but was fully ready to defend itself, adding that the fate of the downed US spy drone was waiting for any intruding flying object.
“Our response to anything trespassing Iranian territory is like this, and if such acts of aggression are repeated, our response will also be the same,” General Hajizadeh said.
“We don’t embrace war but we are ready to fully defend the country,” he said.
“We possess a collection of US drones which is a proof that US has violated Iran’s airspace and shows that they don’t want to respect the international law,” General Hajizadeh said.
“If such an aggression is repeated, we will add other US (military) products to complete this collection,” he noted.
“The US measure was in violation of international law and we acted according to our legitimate responsibility,” General Hajizadeh said, adding, “It is possible that a US general or some operators were behind this American aggression, we don’t know that. But that measure (intruding into Iranian airspace) is a violation of international aviation rules by a spy drone which then received our natural response.”
Meantime, IRGC Commander Major General Hossein Salami stressed that the move should alert Washington officials to stay away.