|November 12, 2012
DUBAI – Iran launched large-scale air defense drills in the country’s eastern half on Monday, Iranian media reported, amid heightened tensions between Tehran and Washington over a military incident in the Gulf reported last week..
The “Velayat-4″ maneuvers being held this week will span 850,000 square kilometres in Iran’s northeast, east, and southeast regions, or about half its total land mass. The maneuvers will include about 8,000 troops, drawn both from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and as its regular military, Iranian media reported.
“Various kinds of fixed, mobile, and tactical long-range radars, and fixed, tactical and airborne electronic surveillance systems will participate in this exercise,” said Farzad Esmaili, who heads Iran’s air defense headquarters, according to state news agency IRNA.
The exercise will also test Iran’s bombers, refueling planes, and unmanned aircraft, Esmaili said.