Iran will hold a massive air defense drill in October incorporating aerial and ground forces, Iranian air defense commander Brigadier General Farzad Esmaili announced on Saturday.
Esmaili said that the maneuver will include all of the Iranian army’s air defense systems, as well as Iranian air force fighter jets, and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, Iranian state news agency Press TV reported.
According to Press TV, “one of the initiatives in the drill will be… preparing the air defense personnel for the management of crisis.”
Reuters quoted Esmaili telling Iranian newspaper Hamshahri on Friday, “Today our systems are prepared in a serious way for modern air threats, such that the performance of the systems compared to the previous profile has improved.”
The announcement of Iran’s air defense drill comes amid rising tensions between Iran and the West over its unsanctioned nuclear program.
The scheduling of the military drill, the second major exercise in two months, coincides with the speculated timetable of a possible Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities before the US presidential elections in November.
The announcement also came a day after Time reported that an American-Israeli military drill scheduled for next month was scaled back by Washington. The Austere Challenge 12 exercise, which is also to be held in October, was to feature thousands of soldiers and advanced anti-missile defense systems and simulate simultaneous fire from Iran and Syria. It is going ahead as planned, but on a smaller scale.