Iran's air force has begun the last round of exercises on Thursday with warplanes and drones in action, a statement carried by government-controlled media said.
The commander of the army’s air force, General Hamid Vahedi said that for the first time in the ten-year history of the annual drills, operations were tested on a “decentralized” fashion.
Command centers in the central city of Esfahan, Bushehr and Bandar Abbas on the Persian Gulf, Dezful in the southwest, Tabriz in the northwest and central command guided warplanes to their air and ground targets.
The Islamic Republic does not possess an effective traditional air force capable of competing with modern rivals due to decades of sanctions preventing the purchase and maintenance of warplanes. Instead, it has relied on the development of a large missile arsenal, with a range of 2,000 kilometers. It is also developing a large fleet of drones and trying to make equip them with more electronic equipment for guidance and evasion.
The statement claimed that aircraft were able to refuel in the air “both within and beyond the borders”. It also said an important goal of the drills was to test low-altitude flight without the use of aircraft’s navigation system.