From the word go on Sunday, Nov. 22, Iran’s five-day drill demonstrated that its air force and air defense units were unequal to their mission of keeping the skies over its nuclear sites clear of incoming strike aircraft, DEBKAfile‘s military and Iranian sources report.
This was quickly borne in on Gen. Ahmad Mighani, air force chief and commander of five-day air defense exercise and the officers at the Khatam ol-Anbia air force base, headquarters of the exercise in the southern province of Khuzestan.
The first stage of the three-part war game Sunday and Monday was devoted to preventing hostile bombers from reaching nuclear installations. Iranian Mirage F-1 fighters acted as strike craft while F-5 fighters – old American models and local products – were assigned defensive roles. However, the Mirages broke through Iranian radar systems, overwhelmed the defending craft in dogfights and seized command of the air space over the nuclear sites. In conditions of real war, therefore, Iran’s atomic installations would be destroyed in the first hours of an attack.
To raise the morale of the Iranian units who witnessed the debacle, Gen. Moghani gave them a pep talk before Monday’s drills began. He assured them that even if enemy aircraft were able to knock out the installations, while they were bombing Iran, their own bases would be destroyed.
His words confirmed DEBKAfile‘s report Saturday, Nov. 20, that in the early stages of a war Tehran would focus on destroying Israeli air force, missile and radar facilities at home as well as the US military bases in Israel, rather than its cities. Click HERE.