Iranian warplanes warned off two “coalition vessels” during military drill in waters off the country’s southeast, a senior naval officer said, in the latest confrontation between Iranian and western forces that patrol the Gulf.
The vessels approached the area of the drills early on Monday to monitor Iranian ships, said Rear Admiral Mahmoud Mousavi, spokesman for the drills, according to Tasnim news agency.
“Iranian drones identified the vessels, then Iranian planes flew over them and gave them a warning. The vessels left the area,” he was quoted as saying.
The Iranian army launched two days of exercises on Monday involving ground, naval and air forces in the country’s south and southeast, near the Makran Coast, and other areas in the Gulf of Oman. There have been periodic confrontations between the Iranian and U.S. military in the Gulf – a major trade route for oil – in recent years.
The large-scale war game, codenamed Muhammad Rasulullah-5 (Muhammad, the Messenger of God), covers vast areas south of Iran, mainly the coastline stretching to the southeastern Makran region, by the sea of Oman.
Forces from the Army Ground Force, Air Force, Navy, and the Air Defense have taken part in the joint military drill. During the first day of the war game, combat choppers of the Army Ground Force Airborne Division opened heavy fire on the hypothetical enemy’s naval vessels approaching the coast.
Commanders say the exercise is aimed at promoting the capabilities of the Army forces and conveying the message of peace and friendship to the regional countries. The Iranian armed forces hold routine military drills throughout the year.
During the first day of the war game, combat choppers of the Army Ground Force Airborne Division opened heavy fire on the hypothetical enemy’s naval vessels approaching the coast. Commanders say the exercise is aimed at promoting the capabilities of the Army forces and conveying the message of peace and friendship to the regional countries.
Later on Monday, Rear Admiral Seyyed Mahmoud Mousavi, the spokesperson for the drills, said the Army’s Ground Forces fired a Fajr 5 rocket and a Naze’at missile as part of defense exercises, PressTV reported. Admiral Mousavi explained that the first day saw operations by naval surface and subsurface vessels as well as aerial craft to monitor, track, and destroy mock enemy units to prevent them from approaching Iranian waters.
Later in the day, he said, Special Forces and Commando units guarding the coastline moved to destroy intruding enemy vessels.Iranian Armed Forces regularly conduct drills to maintain defensive readiness and to incorporate technologically new weapons systems.
Still later, Army Ground Forces moved in to back up the Navy in defending the coastline and preventing enemy forces from infiltrating into Iranian land; and the Fajr 5 rocket and Naze’at missile were fired during that phase, Admiral Mousavi said. e said the Iranian Army’s Air Force conducted sorties to reinforce ground and naval forces, and the Khatam al-Anbiya Air Defense Base monitored the field of fight.
In the first such incident since President Donald Trump took office, a U.S. Navy ship fired warning shots when an Iranian vessel approached to within 140 meters last July. The following month an unarmed Iranian drone came within 30 meters of a U.S. Navy warplane as it prepared to land on an aircraft carrier in the Gulf.
During the presidential campaign last September, Trump said any Iranian vessel that harassed the U.S. Navy in the Gulf would be “shot out of the water”.