Iran says it launched a new drill in the Persian Gulf using cruise missiles, drones and other weapons.
This is the latest military drill for Iran, which has continued to conduct these kinds of exercises designed to show off an array of powers. This drill included the IRGC’s naval units, which exist alongside Tehran’s conventional navy.
Once again, Iran said that it used locally built weapons, highlighting that it claims it doesn’t rely on other countries for its systems. In the past year, the Islamic Republic has exported drones to Russia and Iran continues to traffic weapons all over the Middle East, including to Hezbollah and the Houthis.
Last week, the US Department of Defense noted that more than 2,000 AK-47 assault rifles were inventoried on the flight deck of the US Navy guided-missile destroyer USS The Sullivans “after being seized from a fishing vessel transiting along a maritime route from Iran to Yemen.” Although the US Navy has stopped several weapons shipments over the last 12 months, this was the first one that was publicly revealed this year.
As such, the Iranian drills come as Iran continues to want to show it can project power at sea in the Gulf.
Iranian attacks at sea
According to Iran’s media, the IRGC navy conducted various types of attacks using missiles and also vessels at sea. This included “defensive minelaying within the scope of the simultaneous firing and use of sea cruise missiles from two different geographic areas to hit a specific target.” In addition, Iranian drones were used to hit a specific target.
Iran also practices amphibious attacks and uses an integrated air defense network. Iran said its operations include areas in the Persian Gulf, Gulf of Oman and the Hormuz straits. Iran’s media and public relations officials close to the IRGC highlighted that this drill was designed to send a message to regional powers and those beyond the region that they should be aware of Iran’s “preparations to decisively confront any threat.”
This is the second Iranian drill in two weeks. In early January, Iran conducted Zulfikar 140, simulating a drone attack on a mock-up of a port and ship that resembled an Israeli naval vessel.