Iran completes military exercise by testing 2,000-pound bomb

On Thursday Iran finished its large-scale military exercises by testing a 2,000-pound guided bomb. "It is a flying bomb and can be used as a guided long-range air-to-surface missile," Gen. Amir Amini told state TV.

Amini added that the bomb was a special weapon developed for penetrating military, economic and strategic targets located deep underground on the soil of the enemy, AP reports.

He said the bomb has an "exceptional" explosive power against its targets either on the ground or in the sea.

The bomb, named Qassed or Herald, was shown in a televised picture in white, yellow, red and green colors.

A flying bomb is an unmanned aerial vehicle or small aircraft carrying a large explosive warhead. In contrast to a bomber aircraft, which is intended to release bombs and then return to its base, a flying bomb crashes into its target and is therefore itself destroyed in its attack.

Iran is involved in a major military build-up, concerned about the U.S. military presence in neighboring Iraq and Afghanistan at a time when the international community has threatened to impose sanctions against Tehran because of its disputed nuclear program.

During maneuvers dubbed "The Blow of Zolfaghar," which began on August 19, Iran has test fired short range surface-to-surface and sub-to-surface missiles, a new air defense system, fighter planes and laser bombs.

State TV said that Iran had flown a light fighter plane which has capability of close-range support, Azarakhsh or Lightning, during Wednesday's exercises. It did not explain the delay in the announcement.

Azarakhsh is derived from the reverse engineered components of U.S. fighter planes and was the first warplane to be manufactured domestically in Iran.

Also on Wednesday, Iran exhibited its first locally designed fighter plane, the bomber Saegheh, which is similar to the American F-18 fighter plane.

"Saegheh is a war plane that we completely designed and manufactured inside the country," said air force commander Gen. Karim Ghavami on Thursday. "This is a great achievement."

After decades of relying on foreign weapons purchases, Iran now says it is increasingly self-sufficient in its military equipment claiming it annually exports more than US$100 million (81 million euro) worth of military equipment to more than 50 countries.

Since 1992, Iran has produced its own tanks, armored personnel carriers and missiles, the government said. It announced in early 2005 that it had begun producing torpedoes.

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