Friday, 7 May 2010

Israel Says Iran Choppers Launched in Navy Drill Better than US Cobra

Batoul Wehbe

07/05/2010 Israeli military sources have said that the Iranian Toufan (storm) chopper launched during the Iranian 8-days navy drill was heavily upgraded and much better than the US Cobra.

Iranian made Cobra choppers took off and landed on Iran’s army naval force battleships during this phase of the war game in the Straight of Hormuz and the Sea of Oman, successfully carrying out tactical operations. They attacked and shot down surface and sub-surface mock enemy targets during the second day of naval drill dubbed (Velayat-89) on Thursday.

Iran's helicopter gunships were also dispatched to the area to act as covers for Cobra choppers during the tactical operation in Iranian territorial waters.

Debkafile's website quoted Israeli military sources as saying that if Iran has indeed designed a weapon of this type and quality (Toufan), it has come up with a powerful answer to US and Israeli cruise missiles, which pose the “biggest threat” to Iran's nuclear facilities in a military strike.

The Iranian Air force have received 10 new "Toufan" attack helicopters based on the Bell AH-1K Sea Cobra design. After studying photographs, Western military sources reported the Iranian version has been heavily upgraded compared with the original.

Debkafile's intelligence sources also note that the Iranian Air Force's Badr Base for light aircraft and helicopters in Esfahan, central Iran, accommodates 1,000 aerial military vehicles of different types, and is the biggest air base of its kind in the Middle East and Southwest Asia.

Iran has also successfully conducted interception operations by drones on Thursday. Flying surveillance drones could gather information about hypothetical enemy forces.

Iran's defense minister Brig. Gen. Ahmad Vahidi had also announced on Wednesday the development of the "Mesbah 1" (Lantern), the new air defense system for countering aircraft, cruise missiles, choppers and other low-altitude threats. He said the new system, which is capable of firing “four thousand rounds per minute,” has unique features that differentiate it from other similar air defense systems.

The new system is equipped with a three-dimensional interception radar and an optical guidance system, he added.

In the meantime and according to Fars news agency, Iranian Navy destroyers accompanied by frigates and submarines carried out reconnaissance missions during Thursday's maneuvers.

Admiral Qassem Rostam Abadi, the maneuvers' spokesperson, said the reconnaissance missions were aimed at securing Iran's shipping routes in the Sea of Oman. The Iranian army is scheduled to carry out electronic and anti-electronic warfare and gather radar information in the region, the military official added.

Meanwhile, Brigadier General Kiumars Ahadi -- another commander with Iran's Military -- said troops and military hardware will be dispatched to the area during the drill through special operations.

Iranian Navy commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari said earlier that by holding the maneuver, Tehran sought to send out a message of "peace and friendship" to regional states.

Late last month, Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) staged four days of maneuvers in Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz, testing missiles and a new speedboat capable of destroying enemy ships.

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