50 IRANIAN DRONES CONDUCT MASSIVE ‘WAY TO JERUSALEM’ EXERCISE – REPORT
Named “Beit al-Maqdis,” a reference to Jerusalem, the operation was attended by the commander of the IRGC, Hossein Salami, and IRGC Aerospace Force commander Amir Ali Hajizadeh. Fars News and Tasnim News both reported details of the operation, noting that, “for the first time, 50 Iranian drones on the RQ-170 [US Sentinel] model operated with a number of assault and combat drones.”
Salami said he appreciated the power of the IRGC’s air arm and that it shows that despite US sanctions, Iran is achieving success. Tehran says that it has created an indigenous and advanced copy of the Sentinel. Iran has showcased two versions of these copies since 2016, but video from the “Jerusalem” operation on Thursday showed them being lashed to trucks for the exercise. It wasn’t clear why a drone needs to be launched from a pick-up truck, if it is an “advanced” drone. Claiming that the IRGC is at the forefront of modern UAVs seemed to be in contrast to the photos from the operation, photos that the IRGC itself had released. However, Hajizadeh also pointed to drones that look like the US Predator MQ-1 as evidence that Iran has achieved results. The Shahed 129, first flown in 2012, is Iran’s copy of the Predator.
Hajizadeh said that: “One of the features of this exercise is the power to design and plan co-flying UAVs in a very small geographic area that has brought about the rise of a new air power in Islamic Iran.” According to the reports, the drones operated in several provinces in Iran. Read more