Iran on Saturday issued a clear warning to Israel, when General Yousef Qorbani, commander of the Airborne Division of the Iranian Army, told reporters his country has the most powerful and largest fleet of military helicopters in West Asia, outfitted with cutting-edge technology for quick response to threats.
Not to be confused with the Middle East, West Asia includes Anatolia, the Arabian Peninsula, Iran, Mesopotamia, the Armenian Highlands, the Levant (Syria, Lebanon, and Israel), Cyprus, the Sinai Peninsula, and the southern part of the Caucasus Region.
The Middle East also includes Egypt.
Qorbani declared that Iranian military helicopters are armed with long-range and fire-and-forget missiles, giving them pinpoint accuracy. Once launched, these missiles can destroy enemy targets in three seconds, he said.
Qorbani highlighted the swift response capabilities of his helicopters, noting that they can reach threat areas within the operational radius of their bases in just two hours. The high-ranking commander said that a significant number of Iranian military helicopters have been equipped with cutting-edge night-vision systems, a technology manufactured by only a few countries worldwide.
According to Western sources, the Iranian attack helicopter fleet is comprised of some 50 Bell SuperCobra AH-1J aircraft acquired from the United States in the 1970s. Iran has purchased Soviet helicopters in the past, all of them very large and heavy Mil Moscow Mi-171 transport aircraft. Iran also flies American Vietnam War-era Chinooks.
In comparison, another country in west Asia, Israel, currently has a helicopter fleet that includes 4 Bell 206; 48 AH-64 Apache; 48 Sikorsky UH-60; 22 Sikorsky CH-53; 5 Navy Eurocopter AS565; and on order 8 Sikorsky SH-60; and 12 Lockheed Martin CH-53K helicopters.