Iran unveiled its new super agile "Tondar" combat hovercraft yesterday, and every kid is going to want one for Christmas.
The "Tondar," or Thunderbolt, fires off drones, missiles, and machine guns — and it's speedy enough to perform reconnaissance missions. The Iranians unveiled it during the most massive training exercise their military has ever conducted.
Sophia Jones of NPR reports that Iran's exercise " includes around 8,000 troops covering roughly 330,000 square miles across Iran, equipped with fighter jets, bombers, unmanned aircraft, and missile systems."
Iran will also be testing its anti-aircraft, anti-missile defense system. The "Mersad," or Ambush, missile defense system is capable of locking on striking flying objects from 50 miles away, using Iranian missiles called "Shahins," or Hawks.
The drill comes in the wake of Iran's attack on a US drone and represents a show of force amid rising tensions.
The drill is meant to upgrade Iranian capabilities amid rising tensions between Iran and the West over Tehran's enrichment program, which can be a pathway to nuclear arms. United States and its allies fear the program masks Tehran's ambitions to obtain a nuclear weapon. Iran denies the claim, insisting the nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only.
The hovercraft and missile defense systems are designed and produced in Iran. Defense Minister Gen. Ahmad Vahidi told reporters at the unveiling of the amphibious assault ship that "Iran is now in an elite group of five other countries with the know-how for hovercraft production."
The U.S. Navy, one of those countries, fields an amphibious combat hovercraft called the "Landing Craft Air Cushion," or LCAC.
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