TEL NOF BASE – The Israel Air Force introduced its newest UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle, or drone) on Sunday. The Heron TP, nicknamed Eitan, can fly up to 20 hours nonstop at altitudes as high as 40,000 feet, putting Iran within its range.
“The air force has marked another important milestone in the development of UAVs,” said OC Air Force Maj.-Gen. Ido Nehushtan at the Tel Nof Air Force Base on Sunday.
IAF Brig. Gen. Amikam Norkin, head of the base from which the new drone will operate, called the Eitan “a technological and operational breakthrough.”
Manufactured by Israel Aerospace Industries, the huge aircraft, with a wingspan of 86 feet, is size of a Boeing 737 passenger jet.
It is powered by a 1,200 HP engine and can carry very large cargoes.
Eitan is also equipped with satellite communications capabilities.
“To my knowledge, this is the most advanced UAV of its kind in the world, and it is especially well-suited for IAF missions,” said Lt. Col Eyal, lead officer of the Eitan project.
“It can complete a very wide range of missions and adds specialized intelligence capabilities to the IAF. Very few UAVs in the world can reach its capabilities,” he said.