JEDDAH: Iran’s navy on Friday unveiled a fleet of ships and submarines that Tehran said had the capability to carry armed drones.
The launch came a day after US President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Yair Lapid signed a security pact reinforcing their common front against Iran.
During his visit to Israel Biden also saw a demonstration of the new Iron Beam air defense system, which uses lasers to intercept drones and missiles. “As we are aware of the aggressive attitude in America’s system of domination, it is necessary to increase our defensive capabilities day by day,” Iranian army commander Abdolrahim Mousavi said at Friday’s launch.
“If the enemies make a mistake, these drones will present them with a regrettable response.”
Iran began developing its drone program in the 1980s during the Iran-Iraq war. The US imposed sanctions on the program in October 2021 because Tehran was supplying the technology to its proxy militias in the region, including Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Houthis in Yemen.
Friday’s launch of the new drone fleet was accompanied by considerable fanfare on Iranian state TV. “The first drone-carrier division of the Iranian navy consisting of ships and submarine units carrying all types of drone for combat, detection and destruction has been unveiled,” military officials said.
“All types of the latest advanced drones produced by the military and the Defense Ministry have flown over the Indian Ocean’s waters to demonstrate their capabilities.”