Middle East

Iran testing new air defense system during week of 'massive' military drills

Iran's state TV says the military will test a new air defense system modeled after the U.S. Hawk system.

Monday's report says the surface-to-air system has been named "Mersad," or Ambush. The report says it's capable of locking a flying object at a distance of 50 miles and can hit it from 30 miles away, using Iranian-made missile Shahin, or Hawk.

The TV says Mersad will be tested during the military exercises that started last weekend. Billed as "massive," the week-long drill is also to include Iranian jet fighters, drones and about 8,000 troops and will cover nearly the entire eastern half of Iran.

The drill is meant to upgrade Iranian capabilities amid escalating tensions with the West over Tehran's suspect nuclear program.