Jerusalem: The Israeli Air Force (IAF) has launched a massive drone that can fly non-stop for 20 hours, and is capable of reaching Iran.
Marking a new stage in Israel’s long-range operations, the Israel Aerospace Industries-made Heron TP (dubbed “Eitan”) was unveiled at the Tel Nof air base near Rehovot.
“The Air Force has marked another important milestone in the development of UAVs,” The Jerusalem Post quoted OC Air Force Major General Ido Nehushtan, as saying.
Considered to be one of the largest unmanned aerial vehicles in the world, the Heron TP can fly at medium-to-high altitudes for more than 20 hours, while carrying a variety of payloads and advanced equipment weighing hundreds of kilograms for thousands of kilometres.
Despite its mammoth size, its engine is quiet, so it can be used in covert operations.
The UAV comes equipped for satellite communications over an extended range.
Israel Aerospace Industries described the Heron TP as an all-weather multi-mission platform that can take off and land automatically.
Israeli-made drones have come a long way over the past 30 years.
“From the humble beginnings of small UAVs with operational outputs during the First Lebanon War, to the varied array of hi-tech and multi-operational UAVs that accompany almost operational aspect of the air force,” Nehushtan said.
The IAF expects a squadron of Heron TPs to be formed this year.