Tehran: In reaction to huge joint exercises by the US and Israel, Iran’s army has exposed a major underground camp to demonstrate its aerial military capabilities.
On Tuesday, state television broadcast images of a range of fighter jets and military drones at the “Eagle 44” installation, the location of which is unclear. According to the report, the base is sunk into the mountains to defend it from ammunition dropped by US strategic bombers capable of breaching defenses.
The unveiling, which was attended by top military officials, comes less than two weeks after the United States and Israel conducted their largest-ever joint drill, employing thousands of troops and dozens of aircraft, as well as naval vessels and artillery systems, in what was widely interpreted as a message to Iran amid rising tensions.
This combined exercise came just days after Iran performed extensive maneuvers to demonstrate its military readiness. “Perhaps they did not get Iran’s message [with that exercise] accurately. Iran is now sending another message. “This is the sound of rumbling from within the mountains,” the state television reporter stated, as a fighter jet flew overhead.
State television displayed footage of fighter jets taking off to undertake training missions both day and night, stating that “the message of these activities is that today we have the total air power in the region”.
The Iranian army also displayed the Asef, a long-range, air-fired cruise missile designed to be deployed on Iran’s Russian-made Sukhoi Su-24 jets and capable of breaching enemy defenses.
There have been rumors in recent months that Iran may soon get additional upgraded Su-35 jets from Russia, as Tehran and Moscow aggressively expand their diplomatic relations. Iranian military officials have expressed interest in the aircraft but have not stated a timetable for delivery.
The commander-in-chief of the Iranian army, Abdolrahim Mousavi, told state media at the subterranean base that “our bases will soon host new fighter jets,” without elaborating.
“If our adversaries, who are prone to incorrect estimations, see some of these capabilities, it helps to ensure calmer in the globe and in the region,” Mousavi added.
Mohammad Bagheri, the chief of staff of Iranian armed forces, stated that if any country in the region is utilized by Israel to launch an attack on Iranian soil, “that originating location will also face massive assault in addition to Israel”.
According to a state media broadcast, the Iranian army has numerous additional sites, such as Eagle 44, that are operational and capable of mounting attacks while also being capable of sustaining planes for months, if necessary, as well as boasting electronic warfare capabilities.
The Iranian army has revealed an above-ground drone camp, while the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has shown multiple underground drone and missile bases in communications with the United States and Israel.
The latest displays of might came just days after Iran claimed Israel for a drone attack on an army installation in Isfahan.