Google Earth image of runway built by Hezbollah in Lebanon.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Hezbollah has reportedly built an airstrip designed for its fleet of unmanned aerial vehicle, fresh satellite images show.
The runway is in the northern Bekaa Valley, 10 km. south of the Lebanese village of Hermel, according to Jane’s Defence Weekly.
“The short length of the runway suggests the facility is not intended to smuggle in weapons shipments from Syria or Iran as it is too short for nearly all the transport aircraft used by the air forces of those countries,” Jane’s reported.
“An alternative explanation is that the runway was built for Iranian- made UAVs, including the Ababil-3, which has been employed over Syria by forces allied to the Syrian regime, and possibly the newer and larger Shahed-129.”
Earlier this month, a US Army report said Iran is building a fleet of so-called “suicide kamikaze drones,” and providing know-how on assembling these new weapons to its terrorist allies Hamas in the Gaza Strip and Hezbollah in Lebanon.
The report, which was cited by The Washington Times and published by the US Army’s Foreign Military Studies Office at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, states that “no aspect of Iran’s overt military program has seen as much development over the past decade as Iranian unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
“Whereas a decade ago Iran’s UAVs and drones were largely for show, a platform with little if any capability, the Iranian military today boasts widespread use of drones, employed not only by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), but also by the regular army, both regular and IRGC navy, and the regular and IRGC air forces,” it continues.
Both Hamas and Hezbollah have deployed drones that have penetrated Israeli airspace. Thus far, they have not caused damage.
“In a mid-February speech, regular army General Abdolrahim Moussavi outlined the [Iranian] army’s growing use of drones, with emphasis on suicide or kamikaze drones,” according to the US Army report.
“While it is easy to dismiss the idea of a suicide drone as more symbolic than real in an age of cruise missiles and precise Predators, utilizing suicide drones is an asymmetric strategy which both allows Iran to compete on an uneven playing field and poses a risk by allowing operators to pick and choose targets of opportunity over a drone’s multi-hour flight duration,” it continues.