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Thu, Feb 23, 2012

Heron TP Drone Is Down In Central Israel

737-Sized UAV Was On 'Experimental' Flight

The Israeli military has been developing a drone the size of a 737, and a range which could allow it to reach Iran without refueling. On Sunday, during what was described as a routine experimental flight, the Heron TP UAV crashed in central Israel, according to the the Associated Press.

With a wingspan of 86 feet, the Heron TP is thought to be capable of use in surveillance, communications relay and jamming. It is not known whether the craft as the capability to carry or deploy munitions. The website for Israel Aerospace Industries, the drone's maker, describes the aircraft only as "a multi-purpose, multi-system platform to address local and international customers' needs and to perform a variety of strategic missions with a high level of reliability."

The AP reports the drone figures to be featured prominently in any potential Israeli operation against Iran and its expanding nuclear program. Israel has been very public about its deliberations over the timing of such a strike, as Iran continues to report success in a nuclear fuel-enrichment program which has drawn international sanctions.

FMI: www.iai.co.il/18900-37204-en/BusinessAreas_UnmannedAirSystems_HeronFamily.aspx

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