Commander of Khatam ol-Anbia Air Defense Base Brigadier General Farzad Esmayeeli said that his base along with the country's Armed Forces' units, including the IRGC, have participated in the massive aerial drills codenamed “Modafe’an-e Aseman-e Velayat 5 (Defenders of Velayat Skies 5)”.
“These exercises were held in an area stretching over 700,000 kilometers of land,” Brigadier General Esmayeeli said. He added that 12,000 forces of both the Army and the IRGC have taken part in the drills.
Last month, Brigadier General Esmayeeli pointed to an air defense drill held last year, saying the exercises involved a large number of troops as well as indigenously-developed air defense systems and were staged in a warm region of the country.
In November 2012, different systems with the capability of intercepting incoming cruise missiles as well as optimized and indigenized air defense missiles were tested in the massive aerial exercises code-named 'Modafe'an-e Aseman-e Velayat 4 (Defenders of Velayat Skies 4)'.
The advanced home-made Ya Zahra air defense missile system was among the systems tested in the war games.
The air defense weapon is capable of identifying, intercepting and destroying aerial targets, including different types of aircraft, choppers and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs).
Ya Zahra is a mobile system and can be linked to the country's integrated air defense network and is capable of engaging and destroying several aerial targets simultaneously and also has a powerful fast reaction and full detection capabilities.
During the war games, Iran also tested a variety of missile systems, including anti-cruise weapons. Also artilleries, shoulder-launched weapons and low-altitude missile systems were used in the military drills.
Iranian Air Defense units also exercised targeting Unmanned Aerial Vehicles with anti-aircraft Hawk missiles. The missile was fired by a mobile air defense system on a missile-launching vehicle.
Iranian officials have always stressed that the country's military and arms programs serve defensive purposes and should not be perceived as a threat to any other country.