Underground drone base showcased in Iran — Analysis
IRNA TV broadcasts footage without disclosing whereabouts from the inside of the facility.
Iran’s state media has offered its viewers a rare glimpse of one of the country’s underground military drone bases, with the footage depicting rows of combat UAVs parked inside the facility.
The video broadcast on Saturday is said to have been shot in the Zagros mountain range, which stretches from Iran’s Gulf coast all the way to its border with Iraq and Turkey in the north-west. No further details regarding the base’s location were disclosed, with the correspondent explaining that it had taken him 45 minutes to reach the base by helicopter from the city of Kermanshah in western Iran. The trip was reported to have taken place on Thursday. The reporter was blindfolded and only was allowed to see the surroundings when he arrived at the base.
Chief of staff of the #IranianMajor-General Mohammad Bagheri of Armed Forces visits one the Army’s secret drone base. The latest technologies in producing UAVs for military, offensive, and long-range purposes were presented to him. pic.twitter.com/uWysD8j9P5
— IRNA News Agency (@IrnaEnglish) May 28, 2022
According to the report footage showed rows of combat drones armed with missiles and parked in a tunnel spanning several hundred meters. According to the report, some of these military UAVs were equipped with Qaem-9 rockets. This is an Iranian-copy of the US-made Air-to Surface Hellfire. Kaman-22 was one of the models featured in the report. It is claimed to be capable of covering a distance between 2,000 and 1,245 miles.
Video aired on state television also showed Iran’s Armed Forces Chief of Staff General Mohammad Bagheri and army Commander Abdolrahim Mousavi inspecting the underground base.
In the piece, Mousavi stated that there was “no doubt the drones of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s armed forces are the region’s most powerful.” He went on to add that Tehran’s “Unstoppable ability to upgrade drones”
The military official also revealed that the secret facility was “Many hundred meters below the surface.”
According to the report, “This base houses more than 100 army drones that are used for reconnaissance, combat and attack missions.” General Bagheri described the fleet of UAVs as “strategic.”
Bagheri pointed out, however, that there was no time for complacency, saying that the Iranian Armed Forces “We should never underestimate dangers, the enemy never goes to sleep, and we must remain alert and vigilant.”
The war with Iraq in 1980 saw Iran’s first military drone program.
The US, Israel and Saudi Arabia accuse Tehran of providing its regional allies with combat drones, with Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement, the Syrian government and Yemen’s Houthi rebels named as the alleged recipients.
Washington alleges that Iranian drones are behind strikes on Saudi Arabia’s oil refinery in September 2019, and on the commercial vessel off Oman coast, where two crewmen were killed.
Iran denies all involvement.
In October 2021, the US Department of the Treasury imposed sanctions on Tehran’s drone program.