The Iranian armed forces are conducting a sizable exercise with domestically-produced drones. This is the first time that such an exercise has been conducted by the Islamic Republic. It comes at a time of extremely heightened tensions with the United States and on the one year anniversary of the assassination of MG Qassem Soleimani. 

The Iranians have been producing hundreds of drones in a show of force. In recent years, Iranian forces and their proxy militias have increasingly used unmanned aerial vehicles in Yemen, Syria, Iraq, and in the Strait of Hormuz.

Mahmoud Mousavi, the Iranian deputy chief of army operations, said that the exercise, which took place in Semnan province, included surveillance, aerial targeting, and destruction of objectives using air-to-air missiles, hitting land targets using bombs and missiles, and employing loitering munitions, also known as “kamikaze drones.”

“Flying the army’s naval force drones over vessels in the country’s southern waters and flying precision loitering munition to destroy long-distance high-value targets deep in enemy territory will be among other drill objectives,” Mousavi told the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA).