Iran to hold large-scale aerial maneuver
Press TV – June 11, 2009
Iran's Air Force is slated to hold a week-long drill to test its mastery in low-altitude flight operations and bombing tactics in the Persian Gulf and Sea of Oman.
The 'Milad-e Nour-e Velayat' aerial drill, which will begin in the coming weeks, will involve Iranian fighter jets and interceptor aircrafts performing combat operations over a distance of 3,000 kilometers in four stages.
"Our domestically-produced Saegheh fighters and Russian-made Sukhoi-24 jets will stage tactical operations to test new ammunitions and hone their defensive capabilities," said Iranian Air Force deputy commander Mohsen Darrebaqi on Thursday.
"The message of the Milad-e Nour-e Velayat drill is peace, friendship and determination to safeguard regional security," he assured.
The Iranian maneuver – one of many conducted in the past few months – comes amid growing speculations of a possible Israeli attack against the country.
Israel, in recent years, has strived to portray Iran's missile program, space research and nuclear activities as a "menace" and has thus managed to draw up a case for war against the country.
Tel Aviv is widely regarded as the sixth-largest nuclear power in the world and the sole possessor of an atomic arsenal in the Middle East.
Israel reportedly houses at least 100 bunker-busting bombs, which come in the form of laser-guided mini-nukes with the ability of penetrating underground targets.
Tel Aviv accuses Tehran of nuclear weapons development – a charge rejected by both Iran and the UN nuclear watchdog, which has so far made more than 20 unannounced inspections of the country's nuclear facilities.
For years, senior Israeli political, military and intelligence figures have threatened to bomb Iran's nuclear infrastructure out of existence, but the prospect of go-it-alone Israeli air strikes has significantly risen since Benjamin Netanyahu came to power in Tel Aviv.
Last updated 14/06/2009