Iran to hold major air defense exercise soon

Tehran Times — Sept 1, 2013

The commander of the Khatam-ol-Anbiya Air Defense Base announced on Saturday that Iran would stage a major air defense exercise in the near future.

Brigadier General Farzad Esmaeili, who was speaking at a news conference in Tehran, said that the exercise, entitled the Defenders of the Sky of Velayat 5, would be held in a mountainous region.

Ya Zahra missile system. Click to enlarge

An upgraded version of the domestically designed Ya Zahra missile system will be tested during the maneuvers, he said.

Esmaeili had previously said that domestically manufactured Hazem radar-evading UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) would be used in the exercise.

The military official also said on Saturday that new air defense systems had been deployed to protect the country’s nuclear sites and other sensitive facilities against possible military threats.

On the country’s achievements in the field of radar systems, he said that a domestically designed passive phased array radar system, which is able to detect stealth aircraft and cruise missiles, had become operational.

He also said that Iran planned to install a space radar system, named the Sephr (Sky), which has a range of more than 2,500 kilometers.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Esmaeili said that the components of the Iranian Bavar 373 (Belief 373) missile system, which will be a replacement for the Russian S-300 missile system, would be tested in the current Iranian calendar year, which started on March 21.

Iran says the Bavar 373 missile system is more advanced that the S-300 missile system.

Russia signed a deal to deliver five batteries of S-300PMU-1 air defense systems to Iran in 2007 but cancelled the sale in September 2010, claiming the systems, along with a number of other weapons, were covered by the fourth round of UN Security Council sanctions imposed on Iran over its nuclear program.

The S-300 system, which can track targets and fire at aircraft 120 kilometers (75 miles) away, features high jamming immunity and is able to simultaneously engage up to 100 targets.

In addition, Esmaeili said that Iranian experts had upgraded the Russian-made long-range medium-to-high altitude surface-to-air S-200 missile system by installing Sayyad-2 missiles on the system.

The military official had previously said that a mobile launcher had been designed for the S-200 missile system and the system’s rate of fire had been increased.

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