Iran to Stage ‘Massive Drone Exercises’

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani

Hassan Rouhani / AP

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The Iranian Army announced on Monday that it is preparing to hold “massive drone exercises” in September amid reports that Tehran has fully reverse-engineered a downed U.S. drone captured in 2012.

The drone drills are scheduled to take place during Iran’s “Sacred Defense Week,” which commemorates the Iran-Iraq war that took place in the 1980s.

Iran claims to have built its own version of the downed U.S. drone, a Boeing RQ-170, and to have armed it with missiles “to attack the U.S. warships in any possible battle.”

Iran’s state-run Fars News Agency reported on the upcoming drone drills:

“The Army Ground Force’s drone drills will be staged in the Sacred Defense Week (commemorating Iranians’ sacrifices during the 8 years of Iraqi imposed war on Iran in 1980s),” Lieutenant Commander of the Iranian Ground Force Brigadier General Kioumars Heidari said.

Commander of the Ground Force Brigadier General Ahmad Reza Pourdastan had announced in April that his forces would stage 4 massive drills, including drone and cyber wargames, in the current Iranian year (started on March 21).

“We staged 5 sets of drills last year and this year we will have 4 massive exercises on the agenda, including the Ground Force’s drone drills which will be staged for the first time, and also cyber wargames,” Pourdastan said in a press conference in Tehran on the occasion of the National Army Day (April 18).