Thursday, February 25, 2010

Israel Unveils 'New' Drone Fleet That Can Reach Iran

Israel's 'new; drone fleet is not actually new, nor is it that ground breaking. It is essentially a bigger version of another model, which has already seen service in Operation Cast Lead. What is important is that it puts to bed the silly notion that Israel can not reach Iran. You can debate if they should, but there is little doubt that the could. The unveiling ceremony itself may have been more for consumption by potential buyers then anything else. It is a nice looking plane that will serve a useful function, but it is neither new nor revolutionary.

"Israel's air force on Sunday introduced a fleet of huge pilotless planes that can remain in the air for a full day and could fly as far as the Persian Gulf, putting rival Iran within its range.

The Heron TP drones have a wingspan of 86 feet (26 meters), making them the size of Boeing 737 passenger jets and the largest unmanned aircraft in Israel's military. The planes can fly at least 20 consecutive hours and are primarily used for surveillance and carrying diverse payloads.

At the fleet's inauguration ceremony at a sprawling air base in central Israel, the drone dwarfed an F-15 fighter jet parked beside it. The unmanned plane resembles its predecessor, the Heron, but can fly higher, reaching an altitude of more than 40,000 feet (12,000 meters), and remain in the air longer.

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