Israeli Drones in Afghan Skies
A number of NATO countries are using Israeli drones in Afghanistan to hunt down Taliban fighters
IslamOnline.net | January 22, 2010
CAIRO – Despite having no ground troops in the Muslim country, Israel is taking part in the US-led war in Afghanistan by sending drones to the US allies in the country.
“While Israeli soldiers can’t fight in the war in Afghanistan, Israeli drones can,” commented The Jerusalem Post on Friday, January 22.
A number of NATO countries are using Israeli drones to hunt down Taliban fighters.
Germany, which has 4,500 troops in Afghanistan, will receive next week an undisclosed number of the Israeli-made drone Heron UAVs to operate in the Muslim country.
The Royal Australian Air Force has already announced using Heron systems against Taliban in South Afghanistan.
Three other NATO countries; Spain, France and Canada, also have Israeli drones operating in the Muslim country.
The Heron is a medium altitude long endurance UAV that can remain airborne for more than 30 hours with a cruising altitude of 30,000 feet.
The drone can carry a payload of 250 kg and has a wingspan of 16.6 meters and a takeoff weight of 1,200 kg.
It also has an operational range of several hundred kilometers.
The unmanned drone can carry a variety of sensors used for surveillance and target identification.
Though the UAVs are manufactured in Israel, there are no identifying marks on the aircraft to indicate the country of origin.
Last year, media reports revealed that the US army and allying western forces have been operating the Israeli drones over Iraq and Afghanistan since 2006.
The US-led troops have been struggling against a deadly guerrilla warfare launched by the Taliban since its ouster by the 2001 US invasion.