Friday, February 19, 2010

New Israeli drone to be delivered to the IDF

From YNet:
The IDF is about to receive what is considered the world's best unmanned aircraft – the Eitan.

"The Eitan can stay in the air for more than 20 hours; it can carry very large cargo and fly very far, much further than any other unmanned drone in Israel," said Air Force Lt. Col. A. "Only few aircraft in the world approach such capabilities."

On Sunday, the Air Force will be receiving the Israeli-made drone, which had already been tested on several occasions, including during operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip.

For the time being, Air Force officials only have praise for the new aircraft.

The Eitan is physically larger than any other drone and can fly at higher altitudes. It can also carry more weight – several hundred kilos, compared to the 250-kilogram maximum currently carried by Israel's most advanced drone.

"The Eitan gives us very broad intelligence capabilities," Lt. Col. A. said. "It is the world's most advanced unmanned aircraft and it was especially adapted to missions which the Air Force needs."

In addition, the new drone is equipped with more advanced technological systems than its predecessors. Until recently, these systems were tested by the Israel Aircraft Industry, yet as of Sunday Air Force personnel will be taking over.

The Eitan's role would be to operate in the highest altitudes, along with other aircraft flying at lower altitudes. The new drone will be providing an effective means at all theaters, with an emphasis on distant ones – including Iran.
Arab analysts are calling this announcement a psy-ops war against Iran, because the Eitan was announced years ago and they are saying that this news is recycled.

Well, if that was the intent, it worked, as Iran's PressTV covers the story today.

(Of course the Eitan was known about, but this week is the first time it was formally given over to the IAF. )

There were rumors that the Eitan was used in the attack against the smuggling convoy in Sudan last year as well.