Iran Tests Home-grown Air Defense SystemSeptember 3, 2017
(AFP) - Iran has tested its home-grown air defence system, designed to match the Russian S-300, the head of the Revolutionary Guards' air defence has said.
"In parallel with the deployment of the S-300, work on Bavar-373 system is underway," Farzad Esmaili told state broadcaster IRIB late Saturday.
"The system is made completely in Iran and some of its parts are different from the S-300. All of its sub-systems have been completed and its missile tests have been conducted."
Bavar (which means "belief") is Tehran's first long-range missile defence system, and is set to be operational by March 2018, he added.
In 2010, Iran began manufacturing Bavar-373 after the purchase of the S-300 from Russia was suspended due to international sanctions.
Russia resumed the sale following the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers which lifted sanctions, and Iran's S-300 defence system became operational in March.
On Sunday, state television aired the first footage from a "secret" drone base in an undisclosed desert location, where dozens of different types of unmanned aircraft were lined up.
"If necessary, a great number of Iran's high-speed eagles (drones) will land on the enemy," Esmaili said in the footage.
Iran has developed several military drones in recent years, drawing criticism from Washington.
Last month, the United States claimed Iranian drones flew dangerously close to an aircraft carrier and a US Naval jet in two separate incidents in Gulf waters.
On Saturday, the new defence minister Amir Hatami said Iran has "a specific plan to boost missile power".
He said he hoped "the combat capabilities of Iran's ballistic and cruise missiles" would increase in the next four years.
The comments came amid increasing tensions with Washington, which has passed new sanctions against Iran's ballistic missile programme.
Iran says warns off U.S. U2 spy plane, droneSeptember 3, 2017
(Reuters) - Iran's air defenses have forced an approaching U.S. spy plane and a reconnaissance drone to change course near its air space over the past six months, a military official was quoted as saying on Sunday .
Brigadier General Farzad Esmaili, commander of the Iran's air defense force, said an unmanned RQ-4 drone was intercepted last week and a U2 spy plane was warned away in March, the semi-official Fars news agency reported.
"When the warning was given to the pilot of this (U2) plane at the Strait of Hormuz, he knew that he was being targeted by two separate radars ... and missile systems," Esmaili said.
"Iran will never allow such hostile planes to approach its airspace and would not hesitate to bring them down if necessary," said Esmaili, quoted by the Tasnim news agency.
U.S. officials have frequently complained of what they call unsafe and unprofessional interactions by Iranian maritime forces in the Gulf this year. Iran has said its forces act within their rights to protect Iranian territorial waters.
The Trump administration has recently struck a hard line on Iran, accusing Tehran of violating the spirit of an accord with world powers that lifted sanctions and sought to curb The Islamic Republic's nuclear program.