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Iran’s military on Tuesday launched a two-day campaign of aerial drills involving combat and surveillance unmanned aircraft, as well as “suicide drones” designed to obliterate targets from above, state media reported.
Hundreds of combat drones are taking part in the “first major drone exercise” held by the Iranian Army in central Semnan province, state-controlled news agency IRNA reported.
“The exercise will include tracing and destroying air targets by means of air-to-air missiles and will also include destroying targets on the ground by means of bombs and precision missiles,” the news service reported, citing Rear Admiral Mahmoud Mousavi, deputy commander of the Army.
Iran has previously conducted drills employing military drones, according to the Associated Press, but these exercises were launched days after the one-year anniversary of the US killing of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, who died during a US airstrike via drone at Baghdad International Airport.
As part of the two-day exercises, Mousavi said suicide drones will be tested extensively. A US official told Reuters last year that the unmanned aircraft can carry out a “kamikaze” mission when packed with explosives and flown directly into a target.
The drills will also incorporate unmanned aircraft dispatched by the Iranian Navy in the country’s southern waters, as well as “long-range flights of pinpointing suicide drones” aimed to destroy foreign enemies, Mousavi said.
Since the killing of Soleimani, US officials have feared a retaliatory attack.
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