Iran Stages Major Air Defense Drill, Launches ‘Majid’ Anti-Missile System

A photo from the Iranian army office shows an anti-aircraft missile launcher firing a salvo during a joint military exercise between the army and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps
AFP

Iran’s armed forces launched a two-day, large-scale air defense drill in the country’s central desert region on Tuesday designed to strengthen the military’s ability to protect Iran’s “aerial borders and sensitive areas,” Mehr News Agency reported.

The Iranian army will carry out the drill from October 12 through October 14 together with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). Iran’s Khatam al-Anbia Air Defence Headquarters has been charged with leading the exercise, according to Al Jazeera.

“As part of the exercise, which military commanders said aims to closely replicate war, manned and unmanned aerial vehicles and missiles were to be launched against ground targets in order to test the performance of air defence and radar systems,” the Qatari news outlet reported on October 12.

“Brigadier General Qader Rahimzadeh, commander-in-chief of the Khatam al-Anbia base, said the IRGC’s 3rd Khordad missile defence system and the army’s 15th Khordad system had been deployed as part of the exercise, in addition to other Iranian electronic and cyber warfare equipment,” Al Jazeera detailed.

The commander of Iran’s air defense force, Brigadier General Alireza Sabahifard, declared the drill’s first day a success.

“The equipment we used today are all indigenous and on the cutting edge of modern technology,” he told Iranian state television on October 12.

Tehran claimed to have successfully test-fired “Majid,” a short-range, low-altitude air defense system, as part of the military drill. Iran’s Mehr News Agency published video footage of the missile system’s test launch on October 13.

Tehran claims Majid may be “linked with a locally manufactured radar system with a range of 30km (19 miles) and could hit targets in a range of eight km (five miles),” according to Al Jazeera.

This week’s air defense drills aim to demonstrate the Iranian military’s ability to defend the nation’s “sensitive and vital centers,” Rahimzadeh told reporters on October 12. The exercises are taking place in central Iran, which is home to several of the Islamic Republic’s major nuclear and military centers.

Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility is located in central Isfahan province. The site suffered two mysterious incidents over the past year, an energy blackout in April and an explosion in July 2020. Tehran later accused Israel of being responsible for both of the alleged “nuclear terrorism” attacks.

Tehran’s latest military drill on October 12 follows less than two weeks after Iran’s Army Ground Forces (AGF) launched exercises along the country’s border with Azerbaijan on October 1. Tehran said it ordered the drills in response to an alleged “Zionist” presence near its borders, implying that Baku was harboring an Israeli military presence within Azerbaijan.

Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh announced the border drills in a statement released September 29, saying Tehran “will take all measures it judges necessary for its national security.”

“Iran will not tolerate the presence of the Zionist regime near our borders,” he added.

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