Iran is now in the midst of a massive naval drill spanning from the Persian Gulf to the Sea of Oman.
More than 100 naval units are practicing the use of cruise missiles, torpedoes, and rocket launchers. Also participating in the Velayat 97 exercise are the domestically produced Fateh-class submarine and Sahand-class frigate.
Rear Adm. Hossein Khanzadi, commander of the Iranian Navy, said:
“For the first time, these weapons will be tested seriously and we can make the maritime region unsafe for the enemy in any way possible.”
The Fateh-class sub was first launched in 2013 and was commissioned last week, making this drill its first official appearance on the high seas. It is smaller, slower, and far less silent than any submarine the U.S. currently operates, and it is armed with just six torpedoes.
The Sahand-class frigate is effectively the flagship of the Islamic Republic’s fleet and has been in official operation since December. While it is a substantial upgrade to its predecessor, the Jamarand-class destroyer, it is not any match for the mainstay of the U.S. Navy: the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer.
The drills began today and is scheduled to span the weekend. Elements of the exercise will take place from the Strait of Hormuz to the Indian Ocean, an area covering 772,200 square miles. Conducting drills so closely to a major chokepoint for the world’s oil supply—the Strait of Hormuz—is definitely an attempt to provoke the U.S.
Central Command, which is headquartered in al-Udeid Air Base in Qatar, held a joint air defense exercise—also known as a JADEX—this week. The exercise included B-1B Lancer supersonic bombers, F-15 fighters, and coalition partner aircraft.
(Photo Credit: Iranian Navy)