The Israeli defense trade newsletter Globes reported Aug. 14 that the Heron TP, also known as the Eitan, was Israel’s most advanced reconnaissance aircraft, and was ready for action after all the drones were grounded following a payload-carrying crash in late January.
The Eitan is expected to play a major role in any Israeli military strike on Iran and would provide real-time intelligence and targeting information for the Israeli defense forces. The drone also is expected to carry precision-guided missiles or bombs that could be used in strikes against Iranian nuclear facilities.
The drones, which cost $5 million, were used by Israel’s air force in attacking convoys in Sudan that were believed to be carrying weapons from Iran to terrorists in the Gaza Strip.
“The Eitan’s latest intelligence gathering capabilities in difficult conditions, its ability to closely monitor a target, its state-of-the-art observation systems, and ability to stay aloft for over 35 hours while using satellite communications systems, make it relevant under any scenario of a possible Israeli strike on Iran,” Globes stated in an Aug. 14 report.
“Meanwhile, the Air Force is making sure to have the Eitan ready for such a war, and is keeping a low profile about its operational capabilities.”
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
Bill Gertz is a national security columnist for The Washington Times and senior editor at The Washington Free Beacon (www.freebeacon.com). He has been with The Times since 1985.
He is the author of six books, four of them national best-sellers. His latest book, “The Failure Factory,” on government bureaucracy and national security, was published in September 2008.
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