Naval drill comes two weeks after British-led “United Trident” drills of coast of Iran; Iran claims its drills are for defensive purposes and to send message of “peace and friendship”
The drill will take place in the Straight of Hormuz, the Gulf of Oman, the Bab el-Mandab and northern Indian Ocean.
According to the chief of Iran’s navy, Admiral Habibollah Sayyari, the naval drill will cover over 772,000 square miles and will take place over two days with war simulations referred to as “Velayat 95”. According to reports from Iranian media, Sayyari stated that the “The aim of the “Velayat 95 drill” is to upgrade the country’s defensive capabilities and send Iran’s message of peace and friendship to the regional countries,” claiming the drills are also for training in the “fight against terrorism and piracy”.
Sayyari also reported on Saturday that Iran’s frigate Sahand destroyer would soon join Iran’s naval fleet, stating “Sahand is currently our most advanced destroyer given the systems which are mounted on its deck and has a better capability than the Jamaran destroyer for carrying helicopters.”
The drill reportedly includes Iranian navy ships, submarines and helicopters. Iran’s Revolutionary Guard is not participating in the drills. Patrol aircraft, drones, sonar systems and drones have been deployed over the two-day drill to “monitor” foreign troops in the region.
The Straight of Hormuz is located between the Gulf of Oman and Persian Gulf and is used for oil shipments to Europe, with close to one-third of all oil trades to the West passing through the 39 kilometer-wide straight.
The drill comes just two weeks following the British-led drill that included Western navies off the coast of Iran. The “United Trident” drill included 15 ships from the United States, United Kingdom, France and Australia.