Israel Unveils New Drone Fleet that Can Reach Iran

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The Associated Press

Israel Unveils New Drone Fleet that Can Reach Iran

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Israel's air force has introduced a fleet of large unmanned planes that can fly as far as Iran.

Air force officials say the Heron TP drones have a wingspan of 86 feet (26 meters), making them the size of passenger jets. They say the planes are primarily used for surveillance.

The drones, built by state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries, were first used during Israel's Gaza war last year. The company has said the aircraft can reach the Persian Gulf.

At an inauguration ceremony Sunday, Israeli officials refused to say how large the fleet is or whether the planes were designed for use against Iran.

Israel believes Tehran is trying to develop nuclear weapons and has repeatedly hinted it could strike Iran if diplomacy fails to curb Iran's nuclear program.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

TEL NOF AIR FORCE BASE, Israel (AP) - Israel's air force has introduced a fleet of large unmanned planes that it says can fly as far as Iran.

Air force officials say the Heron TP drones have a wingspan of 86 feet (26 meters), making them the size of passenger jets. They say the planes can fly 20 consecutive hours, and are primarily used for surveillance and carrying payloads.

The drones, built by state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries, were first used during Israel's Gaza war last year.

At an inauguration ceremony Sunday, Israeli officials refused to say how large the new fleet is or whether the planes were designed for use against Iran.

Israel believes Tehran is trying to develop nuclear weapons and has repeatedly hinted it could strike Iran if diplomatic efforts to curb the nuclear program fail.

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