Iran reveals underground air force base, threatens Israel with ‘response’

Iran revealed “Eagle 44”, an underground air force base on Tuesday. The Iranian state media reported Eagle 44 as the first of its kind large enough underground air force base that can house the fighter jets. The “Eagle 44” base is capable of storing and operating fighter jets and drones, Iran’s Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) said. The report did not specify the location of the base.

The IRNA reported that it was one of the country’s most important air force bases. It is reportedly built deep underground, housing fighters equipped with long-range cruise missiles.

“Any attack on Iran from our enemies, including Israel, will see a response from our many air force bases including Eagle 44,” Iran’s armed forces’ Chief of Staff Mohammad Bagheri told state media. 

In May, Iran’s army gave details about another underground base, which houses drones, as the country seeks to protect military assets from potential air strikes by regional arch foe Israel.

State media has cited officials in Tehran’s regime as saying that about 100 drones were being kept in the heart of the Zagros mountains, including Ababil-5, which it said were fitted with Qaem-9 missiles. The Qaem-9 missiles are an Iranian-made version of air-to-surface U.S. Hellfire.

“No doubt the drones of Islamic Republic of Iran’s armed forces are the region’s most powerful,” army commander Major General Abdolrahim Mousavi had said then. “Our capability to upgrade drones is unstoppable,” he added.

The Iranian air force operates about 40-44 Russian-origin Mig-29s, 41 US-origin Grumman F-14 Tomcat aircrafts and 24 Russian-origin Sukhoi Su-35 multirole fighter aircrafts. The country also has about 20 indigenously developed fighter aircrafts among others. All US-origin fighter aircrafts were imported by Iran before 1979’s islamic revolution, following which the US realignment to Saudi Arabia saw straining Tehran-Washington ties. 

(With inputs from agencies)

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