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  6.  » Iran carries out ‘Great Prophet 15’ ballistic missile drill

Featuring kamikaze drones that closely resemble those used in 2019 attacks on Saudi Arabia

  • Weaponry used in the drill resembled that used in a 2019 attack on Saudi Arabia
  • Iran denied involvement in the attack but the US, Saudi Arabia and UN experts believed the drones were Iranian-made
  • Friday’s drill reportedly took place in the Great Salt Desert in central Iran
  • It comes at a time of heightened tension between Iran and the United States

AP, AFP and Charlotte Mitchell – Mail Online Jan 15, 2021

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard launched a missile and drone drill on Friday featuring wedge-shaped suicide drones that strongly resemble the craft used to attack a Saudi oil facility in 2019. 

The ‘Great Phrophet 15’ exercises also saw the IRGC launch around a dozen ballistic missiles from the back of mobile launchers positioned in the desert.

Iran has long-denied carrying out the Abqaiq-Khurais attack which saw global oil supply lines temporarily cut after drones and cruise missiles slammed into Saudi Arabia’s largest oil processing refinery and a nearby oil field.

However, Saudi Arabia and the US say Iran is directly responsible, pointing to pieces of exploded drone wreckage as their primary evidence.

And on Friday, the IRGC released video of similar-looking drones slamming into targets and exploding as part of their latest drill.

The drill involved a drone attack on a missile defence system followed by a ‘barrage of Zolfaghar, Zelzal and Dezful-class ballistic missiles,’ the Guards’ Sepah news site said. Unlike earlier drills however, many of these missiles have been proven in battle.

Saudi Arabia showed damaged drones to journalists after the attacks, while UN experts included images of the drone in a report.

Experts refer to such bomb-carrying drones as ‘loitering munitions.’ The drone flies to a destination, likely programmed before its flight, and either explodes in the air over the target or on impact against it.

Footage from Friday’s drills showed Guards commander Hossein Salami and the force’s aerospace chief Amirali Hajizadeh present at the drill.

‘The message of this drill was our power and determined will to defend our sovereignty, our sacred system and our values against the enemies of Islam and Iran,’ Salami was quoted as saying.

Hajizadeh said the operation demonstrated the Guards’ ‘new power’ and capabilities.

The drill follows an Iranian navy exercise held Wednesday and Thursday in the Gulf of Oman, and an army drone drill on January 5 and 6.

Tehran also recently seized a South Korean oil tanker and begun enriching uranium closer to weapons-grade levels, as the US sent B-52 bombers, the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier and a nuclear submarine into the region as a deterrent in Trump’s final days as president.


 

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