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IRGC drones capture strikingly close footage of US strike group

Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) releases intricate and strikingly close footage captured by the elite defense force’s indigenously-manufactured drones of an American strike group right before its passage into the Persian Gulf through the Strait of Hormuz.

The video that was published by Fars News Agency on Thursday showed the American USS Nimitz aircraft carrier, along with its accompanying military vessels and helicopter gunships.

The drones are seen zooming in on the flotilla to the point where each captured object’s details become clearly visible.

The footage begins by showing a sprawling arrangement of the Corps’ drone fleet and its speedboats, and is accompanied by a speech by the force’s Chief Commander Major General Hossein Salami, who addresses the country’s enemies.

“We say this to our enemies too as they are close to us, hear our voice, and see pictures depicting the growth of this manifestation of power,” General Salami is heard stating. “Take a salutary lesson. Should you perpetrate a blunder, we would crush you,” he says.

The commander notes, “Our naval force has stopped operating [too] close to the sea. By degrees, it will turn into a naval force outfitted with an [accompanying] air force, a seaborne air force. Here we stand strongly and steadfastly. We build up our power. We never stop. We advance on the horizon. We increase the combat radius of our weapons,” the official remarks.

Also on Thursday, IRGC Navy Commander Rear Admiral Alireza Tangsiri attended a televised interview, detailing the circumstances surrounding the capture of the footage, and ticking off a list of new additions that the Corps plans to equip its Navy with in the not-too-distant future.

The Navy, the official said, is tasked with ensuring the security of the entire extent of the Persian Gulf, from the Strait of Hormuz to the waters’ far end.

“The region is ours,” he said, adding, “We have the entire Persian Gulf within the [sphere of] our surveillance and reconnaissance umbrella.” The IRGC Navy and its Aerospace Division fly drones over the body of water day and night, Tangsiri said, and noted, “We constantly monitor the region and have it completely under our control.”

Tangsiri said the Corps had a considerable number of drones added to its fleet on Wednesday, including combat drones and vertical takeoff ones.

The drones can fly as far as 1,500 kilometers (932 miles), and are equipped with precision bombs and laser trackers.

While the drones are tasked with the Corps’ aerial surveillance missions, the force’s vessels conduct its surface surveillance operations.

Commenting on the contents of the footage, he said, “The Americans were not present in the Persian Gulf for around 10 months.”

The carrier entered the waters on Friday and was followed by three US Navy vessels, he noted. The carrier had activated its entire radar apparatus and had flown three gunships over the region, keeping one on the flight deck so it can scramble it if need be, the Navy chief said.

The US’s presence in the region, the commander said, “means that they are within our reach and that we enjoy command over them.”

The commander also announced that the IRGC Navy was to be equipped with indigenous helicopter and drone-carrying vessels, missile cruisers that can sail at a 94-nautical-mile speed, and oceangoing vessels in the future.

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