Iran conducts drone exercise involving surveillance and reconnaissance

Iran uses drones to monitor internal threats, such as Kurdish resistance groups that oppose the regime, as well as its border with Afghanistan and Pakistan.

 A drone is seen during an Iranian Army exercise dubbed 'Zulfiqar 1400', in the coastal area of the Gulf of Oman, Iran, in this picture obtained on November 7, 2021 (photo credit: IRANIAN ARMY/WANA/REUTERS)
A drone is seen during an Iranian Army exercise dubbed 'Zulfiqar 1400', in the coastal area of the Gulf of Oman, Iran, in this picture obtained on November 7, 2021
(photo credit: IRANIAN ARMY/WANA/REUTERS)

Iran has conducted an exercise involving surveillance and reconnaissance drones from the army, Iranian media reported Wednesday. This is part of a growing number of drills involving Iranian drones.

Iran has vastly expanded its drone use in recent years. While Tehran has used them since the 1980s, it has decided to invest more in recent years because the technology behind drones enables it to export them to the region and also threaten adversaries using relatively simple and cheap technology.

The joint exercise involved drones from several branches of the army, and various drills were related to monitoring targets, Tasnim News Agency reported. The goal was partly designed to showcase the UAVs’ use in monitoring borders.

Iran uses drones to monitor internal threats, such as Kurdish resistance groups that oppose the regime, as well as its borders with Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The drills involved at least six types of Iranian drones, the report said. These included the well-known and advanced Ababil 3 and Mohajer 6, workhorses of the Iranian drone units. Other ones mentioned included the Yasir, Sadegh, Pelikan and Yazdan.

 A drone is launched during a large-scale drone combat exercise of Army of the Islamic Republic of Iran, in Semnan, Iran January 6, 2021.  (credit: IRANIAN ARMY/WANA (WEST ASIA NEWS AGENCY) VIA REUTERS) A drone is launched during a large-scale drone combat exercise of Army of the Islamic Republic of Iran, in Semnan, Iran January 6, 2021. (credit: IRANIAN ARMY/WANA (WEST ASIA NEWS AGENCY) VIA REUTERS)

Different UAV bases

Several UAV bases were involved. Iran has recently expanded many of these bases, including those in the south along the Indian Ocean. Those drones, as well as the ones based near the Persian Gulf, pose a threat to shipping. Iran used kamikaze drones to strike at a ship in July 2021, used drones to monitor shipping and used them to harass US naval ships.

“In this exercise, only a small part of the achievements of the drones of the Islamic Republic of Iran Army will be used,” the report said.

Tehran said the drill was designed to improve “combat readiness.”

Iran’s army and navy do not usually use drones against the country’s adversaries. Instead, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps exports drones to proxy groups and has used them in recent operations against Israel, the Gulf states and others.

The US said it carried out an airstrike last Thursday against pro-Iranian forces in Syria. In the past, Iran has used drones in Syria to target and monitor US bases.