0633 GMT January 20, 2019
Dubbed the Defenders of Velayat Skies 2018, the two-day drills kicked off on Monday and featured joint operations by the Khatam al-Anbiya Air Defense Base, the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps’ Aerospace Force and the Iranian Air Force, which is the aviation branch of Iran’s Army, Press TV reported.
Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari, the deputy commander of the Iranian Army for coordination who also presides over the drill's board of commanders, told a media briefing that the military exercises cover an area of around 500,000 square kilometers in the country’s northern, western, eastern and central regions.
Sayyari said all of the air defense systems and equipment used in the exercises were designed and developed by Iranian experts.
“All of our weapons, training and coordination fit the nature of the threats that we face because we know these threats very well and build our strategies around them” and then test those strategies by simulating various scenarios in military drills of this kind, he said.
Detection, identification, interception and destruction of threats using advanced equipment, including electronic warfare, were the key objectives of the Velayat drills, Sayyari said.
Commenting on the drill’s coincidence with the US reimposition of sanctions against the Islamic Republic, Sayyari said the economic pressure is never going to affect Iran’s ability to defend itself.
Ever since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, “our country has been subjected to the most severe forms of sanctions... and these sanctions are more prevalent in the military field because the enemy doesn’t want the Islamic Republic to stay independent and self-reliant as a country,” Sayyari said.
Iranian Armed Forces have reached such levels “on land, in sea and in air,” 40 years after the late Imam Khomeini led the revolution to victory and urged self-reliance, the admiral added.