(Photo Credit : Iran Newsroom)
The Islamic Republic of Iran kicked off large-scale military drills on 29 December, stretching from the Hormuz Strait in the Persian Gulf to the northern part of the Indian Ocean.
During the military drills, the country’s defense forces will test Iran’s weapons arsenal, review tactics, and boost its deterrence and combat readiness in the face of foreign threats and interference.
Admiral Habibollah Sayyari, the Army’s deputy chief, said that the military exercise codenamed Zolfaghar 1401 will include the infantry, armored and mechanized units, surface, sub-surface and flying vessels, air defense systems, members of the marine commando force, and strategic bombers.
Sayyari added that the aim of the drills is to send neighbors a message that regional security can be achieved without the interference of foreign forces, and that the withdrawal of the US and British military is key for regional stability.
In addition, Iran will receive an entire squadron of Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets from Russia as Tehran and Moscow strengthen their defense and economic collaboration in defiance of broad sanctions and coercive measures, Al-Manar news reported on 28 December.
The Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jet, according to the Russian company United Aircraft Corporation (UAC), “combines the qualities of a modern fighter (super-maneuverability, superior active and passive acquisition aids, high supersonic speed and long range, the capability of managing battle group actions, etc.”
Except for a few Russian MiG-29 Fulcrum fighters it purchased in the 1990s, Iran has not recently purchased any modern fighter aircraft.
In addition to the MiG-29, the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force primarily utilizes locally modified F-4 Phantom II, F-14 Tomcat, and F-5E/F Tiger II aircraft from the 1970s that were sent to the overthrown, US-backed Pahlavi regime before the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
In recent months, significant agreements between Iran and Russia have been reached to expand their economic, trade, energy, and military cooperation.