Monday, September 15, 2008

Asemane Velayat Military Exercise

From Press TV:

The Islamic Republic Air Force and the IRGC have initiated a joint military exercise with the aim of coordinating their aerial defenses.

“A great number of air bases throughout the country, dozens of fighter planes and all aerial units of the Armed Forces are taking part in this exercise,” a senior commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Air Force, Brigadier Ahmad Miqani, said on Monday.

Miqani reported that the maneuver would be held in three stages, starting with intelligence gathering and electronic warfare operations against naval battle groups of a hypothetical enemy.

The commander said the second and third stages would involve countering attacks against military systems and sites, as well as 'critical and sensitive' locations.

This is the first time that Iran's aerial forces have conducted such an extensive joint military exercise.

The maneuver, dubbed Asemane Velayat comes amid rising speculation of a possible Israeli military strike against Iran's nuclear facilities.

On Sunday, Haaretz reported that the US Department of Defense was planning to sell Israel 1,000 'bunker-buster' bombs capable of taking out fortified nuclear installations in Iran.

The Guided Bomb Unit-39 (GBU-39) is made up of highly advanced smart bombs, which have been developed to target fortified facilities deep underground.

This may be a particularly noteworthy exercise, demonstrating coordination between the IRIAF and IRGC. This is the first of three days of large scale air defense drills. "The drills are being conducted in more than a half of Iran's provinces. Their main goal is to rehearse tactical operations with modern weapons and generally to upgrade the operational effectiveness of the country's armed forces," Brigadier General Ahmad Mighani said. He also mentioned that all air-defense units of Iran's Ground Forces would be involved,during launches of advanced missiles and other precision guided weapons.

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