Krassimir Ivandjiiski
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Iran to flex muscles in aerial drill


Press TV - October 15, 2008

Iranian F-14 Tomcats

Iran's Air Force is set to test the country's state-of-the-art military equipment and flight tactics in a large-scale aerial maneuver.

Iran's show of armed muscle is aimed at demonstrating the country's military offensive capabilities in the wake of escalating war threats against the Islamic Republic.

The upcoming military exercise is scheduled to be launched in Iran's northwestern city of Tabriz on Thursday and will resume in different Iranian cities including Tehran, Isfahan, Hamedan, and Dezfoul.

The Iranian Armed Forces have been holding military exercises on a regular basis after Israel conducted an air maneuver over the Eastern Mediterranean and Greece in early June, which according to Pentagon officials, appeared to be a rehearsal for a potential bombing attack on Iran's nuclear facilities.

Over 100 Israeli F-16s and F-15s took part in the exercise, which spanned some 900 miles, roughly the distance between their airfields and a nuclear enrichment facility in the central Iranian city of Natanz.

Iran responded in early July by holding an extensive military drill, during which the armed forces test-fired upgraded Iranian-made Shahab-3 missile equipped with a one-ton conventional warhead and capable of hitting targets within a 2,000-kilometer range.

Earlier in September, scores of Iran's fighter jets, surveillance planes, interceptor aircraft and radar drones took part in a joint three-day military exercise.

The maneuvers also involved testing a surveillance network equipped with state-of-the-art systems for identifying enemy aircraft.

After the drill the IRGC Air Force Commander, Brigadier General Hossein Salami warned that Iran's air space would be 'hazardous' and 'high-risk' for aggressor aircraft.

The forthcoming Iranian military drill, starting Thursday, will involve Iran's F-4 Phantoms, F-5 Freedom Fighter/Tigers, F-7 fighter jets, F-14 Tomcats, Saeqeh (Thunderbolt) fighter jets and Boeing KC-707 aerial refueling tanker aircraft, Fars News Agency reported.

Iranian Saeqeh fighters

In further preparation for a possible Israeli attack, Iran's Air Force chief, Brigadier General Ahmad Miqani, announced in mid-August that the country has revamped its fighter jet fleet to fly distances of 3,000 kilometers without refueling.

The upgrade would allow Iranian aircraft to fly to Israel and back without needing to refuel.

Tel Aviv has threatened to launch air strikes against Iranian nuclear installations under the pretext that Tehran, a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), has plans to develop nuclear weaponry.

This is while, in its latest report on Iran, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) announced that it could not find any 'components of a nuclear weapon' or 'related nuclear physics studies' in the country.



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