“In the year 1392 (ended on March 20), numerous sites were added to the country’s air defense network in sensitive and strategic regions under the direct command and supervision of the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution (Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei),” Esmayeeli said.
“During the last year, highly considerable progress was made in the increasing our battle power and designing, building and expanding different radar systems in the air defense network, including Arash, Shahrivar the 10th, and Moraqeb radar systems,” he added.
Elsewhere, Esmayeeli said that the air defense force is due to stage special drills in the current Iranian year (started on March 21) which, he said, “will be different from all the exercises staged by now”.
The Iranian Armed Forces, including the Army and the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), took part in massive air defense exercises in October.
Esmayeeli said at the time that his base along with the country’s Armed Forces’ units, including the IRGC, have participated in the massive aerial drills codenamed ‘Modafe’an-e Aseman-e Velayat 5′.
“These exercises were held in an area stretching over 700,000 kilometers of land,” Brigadier General Esmayeeli said.
He added that 12,000 forces of both the Army and the IRGC have taken part in the drills.
Also in September, Brigadier General Esmayeeli pointed to an air defense drill held last year, saying the exercises involved a large number of troops as well as indigenously-developed air defense systems and were staged in a warm region of the country.
In November 2012, different systems with the capability of intercepting incoming cruise missiles as well as optimized and indigenized air defense missiles were tested in the massive aerial exercises code-named ‘Modafe’an-e Aseman-e Velayat 4 (Defenders of Velayat Skies 4)’.
The advanced home-made Ya Zahra air defense missile system was among the systems tested in the wargames.
The air defense weapon is capable of identifying, intercepting and destroying aerial targets, including different types of aircraft, choppers and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs).
Ya Zahra is a mobile system and can be linked to the country’s integrated air defense network and is capable of engaging and destroying several aerial targets simultaneously and also has a powerful fast reaction and full detection capabilities.
During the wargames, Iran also tested a variety of missile systems, including anti-cruise weapons.
Also artilleries, shoulder-launched weapons and low-altitude missile systems were used in the military drills.
Iranian air defense units also exercised targeting Unmanned Aerial Vehicles with anti-aircraft Hawk missiles.
The missile was fired by a mobile air defense system on a missile-launching vehicle.
The Iranian officials have always stressed that the country’s military and arms programs serve defensive purposes and should not be perceived as a threat to any other country.
Senior Iranian military officials said on Sunday that the attitude and policies of the trans-regional troops deployed in the region has changed ever since the latest air drill staged by Iran’s Armed Forces.
“The personnel of the air defense took highly proper measures in the year 1392 and highly important achievements were made in the field of air defense,” Lieutenant Commander of Khatam ol-Anbia Air Defense Base Brigadier General Alireza Sabahifard said in Tehran.
He said that among the air defense’s achievements were two massive drills codenamed ‘Modafe’an-e Aseman-e Veleyat 5 (Defenders of Velayat Skies 5)’ and ‘Mesbah al-Hoda’ after which “we witnessed the enemies’ change of behavior in the region”.