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Iranian forces launch large-scale drone combat drill as tensions rise in the Persian Gulf (PHOTOS)

Iranian forces launch large-scale drone combat drill as tensions rise in the Persian Gulf (PHOTOS)
Iran’s army has started its first large-scale drone combat wargames, including using indigenous military hardware, amid heightened regional tensions between Tehran and Washington.

“Today, the Islamic Republic of Iran is one of the [ablest] and most powerful countries in the field of drone production,” Admiral Mahmoud Mousavi, the army’s Deputy Chief of Operations, said on Tuesday as the wargames kicked off. 

The drills take place in Semnan province throughout Tuesday with the participation of hundreds of drones used by the army, air force and navy.

“UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) combat operations including air interception and destruction of aerial targets using air-to-air missiles, destruction of ground targets using bombs and pinpoint missiles, as well as widespread use of suicide drones” will be deployed during the exercise, Mousavi added.

Photos and videos of the drones lined up in preparation for the drill have been released by the Iranian authorities. 

Speaking in late December, Iran’s Defense Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami said that the country’s indigenous defense contractors could now meet all of its weapons and military requirements. 

“We are now in a situation that despite [the] enemy’s maximum pressure and all-out, and cruel sanctions, we supply all internal needs as a result of the efforts of our committed specialists in the defense industry, knowledge-based companies and the cooperation of our Armed Forces,” Hatami noted. 

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The drills come amid increased tensions in the Persian Gulf, including the seizure of a South Korean flagged tanker by Iranian forces and the announcement that Tehran is pushing forward with its uranium enrichment program.

Iran’s adversaries have long had naval assets stationed in the Persian Gulf, overseeing vital energy supplies and allied nations, but the arrival of an Israeli submarine last week deeply angered Tehran. 

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