On March 14, the Iranian Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Aerospace Division launched major drone combat and assault drills, codenamed “Towards al-Quds,” over the Persian Gulf waters, south of Iran.
Dozens of unnamed combat aerial vehicles (UCAV) participated in the drills. The Press TV said that this was the first time when the IRGC tested the performance of such a high number of UCAVs during a combat-offensive operation. During the drills, the UCAVs flew simultaneously at a distance of over 1,000 kilometers from the hostile targets on the Iranian island of Faror before approaching and striking them at a specific time.
According to Iranian sources, at least 10 Iranian-made copies of the stealth RQ-170 Sentinel drone participated in the drills. Iran famously grounded a U.S. RQ-170 using own electronic warfare capabilities in December of 2011. A few years later, Iran unveiled its own copy of the stealth drone after reverse-engineering it.
Commenting on the drills, Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami, the second-in-command of the IRGC, said that the Aerospace Division is proud of being the pioneer in the area of producing modern and advanced drones at home.
“Despite the empty and satanic dreams of the US and other ill-wishers of the Iranian nation, we witnessed tens of modern and advanced domestic RQ-170s and other types of combat drones in flight during a major drill and unique offensive operation,” the Press TV quoted the IRGC commander as saying.
Besides the Iranian copy of the Sentinel, several variants of the locally-developed Shahed-125 and Shahed-129 UCAVs were seen in the drills’ video. All UCAV’s appeared to be armed with small-diameter bombs, guided by elector-optical seekers or satellite navigation systems.
According to Iranian sources, the IRGC’s Aerospace Division drills were a warning to the country’s enemies in the region, especially Israel, which fears that the Islamic country may supply its allies in Syria and Lebanon with such advanced weapon systems.