Iran Boasts Capability to Carry Out ‘Every Type of Drone Operation’
18:56 GMT 03.08.2021 (Updated: 19:08 GMT 03.08.2021)
© Photo : Twitter / @PresstvFrKaman-22 drone.
© Photo : Twitter / @PresstvFr
Despite its status as a regional, rather than a global power, the Islamic Republic has successfully developed and fielded a world-class collection of drones, with its designs ranging from small, slow-moving reconnaissance unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to multirole tactical systems and long-range jet-powered suicide drones.
Iran’s air defence troops enjoy strong capabilities in the field of drone warfare, and the country is “capable of carrying out every type” of operation involving UAVs, Air Defence Force commander Brig. Gen. Alireza Sabahifard has said.
“As the armed forces are equipped with the world’s most modern air defence systems, they can enjoy a very high capability to carry out any drone operation of any type successfully,” Sabahifard said, speaking at the AJA University of Command and Staff in Tehran on Monday.
The commander went on to praise the Iranian defence industry’s success in the creation and production of domestically-sourced air defence systems have helped Tehran achieve self-sufficiency in the sector and to break powerful nations’ monopolies in the production of such equipment.
Recalling Iranian air defence forces’ experience in the Iran-Iraq War of 1980-1988, Sabahifard suggested that the situation today is in some ways even more precarious than it was during that brutal conflict.
“Now, we are in peace and we must be more vigilant than at any other time in…monitoring the skies of Islamic Iran round the clock, so that it should be kept in mind that the slightest negligence will lead to incurring irreparable damages on the country,” the commander warned.
Iran has a broad range of drone capabilities in its arsenal, including the Kaman-22 long-range strike drone, the Fotros multipurpose UAV, ultra-long-range rocket-powered suicide drones, tactical combat quadcopters fitted with small bombs, Pelican vertical takeoff-and-landing (VTOL) drones meant for use aboard Iranian warships, and other systems.
Out of the Blue Spike in Tensions
Sabahifard’s remarks come amid a rapid escalation of tensions between Iran and Israel in recent days following last week’s attack on the Mercer Street oil tanker off the coast of Oman. The ship’s Romanian captain and a British bodyguard was killed in the attack, which Tel Aviv almost immediately blamed on Iran. Tehran vigorously denied any involvement.
The UK, the US, Romania, Canada and NATO have since joined Israel in blaming Iran for the Mercer Street incident.
In a related development, on Tuesday, the UK Maritime Trade Operations accused “Iranian-backed forces” of a “potential hijack” of the Asphalt Princess, another oil tanker in the Arabian Sea near the Emirati port of Fujairah. Iran’s foreign ministry called the incident “suspicious” and said its naval forces were “ready for help and rescue in the region.”
Along with the pair of incidents, four other commercial ships – the Golden Brilliant, the Queen Ematha, the Jag Pooja and the Abyss were reported to have lost steering ability in the Gulf of Oman. Authorities have yet to clarify what caused these incidents, with United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) characterizing them as “non-piracy” occurrences.
The Mercer Street attack is the latest episode in a long list of back-and-forth accusations by Israel and Iran of attacks on one another’s commercial shipping. Last month, a fire broke out on the CSAV Dyndall in the northern Indian Ocean. Israel blamed Iran. In April, Israeli-owned cargo ship the Hyperion Ray reported being attacked off the UAE coast. Israel blamed Iran. In March, Israeli-owned container ship Lori was reportedly hit by a missile in the Gulf of Oman. Israel blamed Iran. A month before that, the Helios Ray was attacked in the Gulf of Oman. Israel blamed Iran. Tehran denied involvement in each instance, and in the case of the Helios Ray attack, accused the Israelis of a false flag operation.
At the same time that it has accused Iran of targeting its ships, Israel has remained mum on its own alleged operations against the Islamic Republic’s vessels. In March, US media reported that the Jewish State had secretly targeted at least a dozen Iranian tankers trying to deliver oil to fuel-starved Syria over a two year period, causing “billions” of dollars in damage. Neither country commented on these reports.