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Monday, February 22, 2010
Israel unveils new drone fleet that can reach Iran
TEL NOF AIR FORCE BASE, Israel (AP) - Israel's air force on Sunday introduced a fleet of huge pilotless planes that can remain in the air for a full day and could fly as far as the Persian Gulf, putting rival Iran within its range.
At the fleet's inauguration ceremony at a sprawling air base in central Israel, the drone dwarfed an F-15 fighter jet parked beside it. The unmanned plane resembles its predecessor, the Heron, but can fly higher, reaching an altitude of more than 40,000 feet (12,000 meters), and remain in the air longer.
Israel has hinted at the possibility of a military strike against Iran if world pressure does not halt Tehran's nuclear program. Israel and the U.S. believe Iran is trying to build nuclear weapons; Iran says its program is for peaceful purposes.
The military says the huge new drone will give an added element to Israel's ability to control its borders.