Iranian forces fired what military officers said was a new generation of surface-to-air missiles Monday during a wide-ranging naval exercise that focused on striking hypothetical unmanned aircraft and vessels in international waters to the south of the country, Iranian media reported.
The missiles were fired on the fourth day of a six-day naval exercise that started Friday, when Iran announced that it had begun the exercises that would test a new version of its Thunder surface-to-air midrange missile. They were meant to demonstrate the country’s defense of its territorial waters, the official Islamic Republic News Agency said.
In addition, Iran deployed warships and helicopters to escort commercial ships and oil tankers as part of a drill meant to show the country’s ability to combat piracy, it reported. The exercise also included drills using Iranian-made drones and submarines.
The semiofficial Fars news agency quoted an Iranian naval commander, Rear Adm. Alireza Nayyeri, as saying that the navy had “boosted and upgraded” the capability of its domestically manufactured drone aircraft.
The exercise was conducted in the Strait of Hormuz, a strategic waterway through which much of the world’s oil and cargo shipments pass, as well as in the Gulf of Oman, the Gulf of Aden and the northern Indian Ocean, IRNA reported. Accounts in the state-run media said the war games covered a 400,000-square-mile area.
Iran holds military exercises regularly to demonstrate its defense capabilities in the strategic Persian Gulf region, where about 30 percent of the world’s energy supplies are transported. The U.S. Navy maintains a carrier force in the area and stations its 5th Fleet in Bahrain. U.S. forces conduct naval exercises with other countries in the region, including the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.
The news agencies did not say that the exercises were directed against a specific threat, but tensions with the United States have been percolating over a U.S.-led campaign of international sanctions designed to pressure Iran over its disputed nuclear energy program. Iran has previously threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz in retaliation for the sanctions.
In December Iran said that the naval forces of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps captured a U.S. drone that had entered its airspace over the Persian Gulf. Officials identified it as a ScanEagle, built by Boeing, an aircraft that can be launched and operated from ships, the company said on its website. The U.S. Navy denied losing any drones, but the unmanned aircraft could have been operated by the CIA or the National Security Agency.
Several Persian Gulf countries also have ScanEagle drones.
Pentagon officials said in November that Iranian warplanes had fired on a Predator unmanned aircraft, believed to be the first time Iranian warplanes had fired on a U.S. drone. Iran said the Predator had violated is airspace, an assertion that U.S. officials dismissed.MORE IN Wire NewsADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — Many in Ethiopia are reeling from the news that several Ethiopians were... Full StoryMILAN — Rescuers responded Monday to two new migrant emergencies off Libya and a third boat ran... Full StoryWASHINGTON — Republican or Democrat, the next president will have the chance to remake the... Full Story
- Most Popular
- Most Emailed
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day 1739, 'Richard Palmer' identified in prison at York Castle as the notorious outlaw DICK TURPIN; IN 1836, Battle of the Alamo begins near San Antonio de Bexar, Texas; 1896, the Tootsie Roll invented by LEO HIRSCHFELD.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1472, Orkney, Shetland islands put up as collateral by Norway to Scotland in lieu of dowry for MARGARET OF DENMARK on her marriage with JAMES III, king of Scotland; 1962, JOHN GLENN first American to orbit Earth.
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: City mayoral candidates debate campaign issues; Hartford, Conn., woman still missing; Neal Goswami reports attempts to legislate suicide; local woman loses 100 pounds through TOPS program.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1878, JOHN TUNSTALL murdered near Lincoln, New Mexico, by the outlaw JESSE EVANS; in 1930, ELM FARM OLLIE first cow to fly in aircraft, first to be milked airborne; 1955, nuke test WASP; '79, snow in Sahara.
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: Rutland Herald News Editor Alan J. Keays and staff writer Gordon Dritschilo discuss stories planned for the February 18, 2015, edition of the newspaper: Winter budgets maxed, legal marijuana, Springfield bank job, USPS slowdown
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1249 AD, ANDRE of LONGJUMEAU is dispatched by LOUIS IX of France to meet the KHAGAN, ruler of the Mongol Empire; in 1804, during 1st Barbary War, STEPHEN DECATUR scuttles the pirate-held USS Philadelphia in Tripoli.