Monthly Archives: October 2012

Drone Roundup: Israel and Iran Fight It Out in the Press

cormorant1 e1350305761744 Drone Roundup: Israel and Iran Fight It Out in the Press

Iran defense minister confirms Hezbollah drone was Iranian
“Whatever we have at our disposal will be used at the proper time in defending the Muslim community and Islamic territories and that’s natural,” Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi said on Sunday adding, “Given the Zionist regime’s frequent incursions into the Lebanese airspace, we see it as the natural right of Lebanon’s Hezbollah to fly its drone above the Occupied Territories.” The minister added that the flight of the Hezbollah drone proved the weakness of the Jewish entity’s iron dome. “The so-called iron dome of the Zionist regime’s defense space collapsed by this action and it became clear that the Zionist regime could not be safe from the fury of the Muslim community,” Vahidi said.”

Former Lebanese PM: UAV not a state decision
Former Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora said that the Hezbollah-dispatched unmanned aerial vehicle that flew over Israel was sent at Iran’s behest, and was not a Lebanese decision, a statement issued by Siniora’s press office said on Sunday. “Sending the drone over Israel is not a Lebanese decision, however the move was made at an Iranian behest. Such act needs techniques only available in Iran,” Lebanese news site The Daily Star quoted Siniora as telling his visitors at his Sidon’s office.

Israel unveils enhanced drone
As part of Sunday’s showcase, held in central Israel, the Shoval drone flew towards the sea and identified a commercial vessel on the Mediterranean, dozens of kilometers away from Israeli shores. Live footage displayed in HD quality on the control screens showed foreign reporters virtually every detail on the ship, including its Japanese flag, the name on its front and the sailors walking on board. The drone can also identify aircraft flying over the sea and determine whether they are suspicious. Its radar, which has a 300km (190 mile) range, can reach as far as Cyprus, Turkey and Egypt. “The system can inquire and intercept any object within just a few minutes,” a senior IAI official said. The UAV weighs 1,200 kilograms (2,645 pounds) and can carry 256 kilograms (565 pounds) in surveillance cargo. “The Shoval has satellite communication abilities, which means any footage it takes will be broadcasted online to distant location like Paris. This capability allows it to operate during bad weather, in which case it will fly under cloud height and will not be affected by the rain,” the official said.

Iran to Use New Drone for Air Defense, Bombing Missions
A senior Iranian military commander said that the country’s newly unveiled Haazem (Determination) drones are multi-purpose and multi-range vehicles with air-defense, reconnaissance and aerial bombardment capabilities. Commander of Khatam ol-Anbia Air Defense Base Brigadier General Farzad Esmayeeli stressed that Iran’s defense industries enjoy a high capability in designing and producing Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), and stated that Haazem is a drone designed and manufactured by Iranian air defense experts in three short, mid and long range models and for air defense missions. He said that the drone can be used as a target for air defense systems and also for reconnaissance missions. Esmayeeli said the UAV can also be equipped with missiles and used for aerial bombardments as well.

Hezbollah drone photographed secret IDF bases
The Hezbollah drone that infiltrated the Negev last week beamed back live images of secret Israeli military bases, the Sunday Times reported on Sunday. According to the report, the drone was airborne for three hours before being intercepted by an F-16I jet. It is believed to have transmitted pictures of preparations for Israel’s joint military exercise with the US, as well as ballistic missile sites, airfields and, perhaps, the nuclear reactor in Dimona, the Sunday Times reported.

Israel terrified by outlook of future Iran, Hezbollah combat UAVs: Analyst
“The fear of Israelis is that these UAVs, Iran or Hezbollah can develop them to become combat UAVs meaning [having] the capability of launching missiles or themselves being used as guided missiles against targets in Israel. So personally, I think we will see it more in any future conflict between Hezbollah and Israel,” CEO and founder of the Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis (INEGMA), Riad Kahwaji said in a Press TV interview.

Israel’s IAI wins $958M India drone deal
Israel Aerospace Industries, flagship of the Jewish state’s defense sector, is reported to have secured a $958 million contract from India’s military to upgrade its IAI-built Heron and Searcher unmanned aerial vehicles. UAVs are one of the biggest money-spinners for Israel’s defense industry and India, which is engaged in a massive multiyear rearmament program, is a key customer. Israel’s Globes business daily cited Indian media reports that the deal covers some 150 UAVs acquired from IAI since the 1990s that are operated by India’s army, air force and navy.

South Korea’s Kamikaze UAV Could Scare the Ojom Out of Kim Jong-un
South Korea’s aptly named the Devil Killer fits that bill; it’s a portable kamikaze UAV currently under development by Korea Aerospace Industries in conjunction with Konkuk and Hanyang Universities. It measures five feet in length and weighs approximately 55 pounds. When unfolded, its boasts a four foot wingspan. The Devil Killer will be powered by an electric motor and reportedly reach speeds in excess of 250 MPH, allowing it to strike North Korean targets up to 25 miles away in just 10 minutes.

Photo: Lockheed Martin Cormorant

France Pushing for Intervention in Mali – And They Will Get It

France Pushing for Intervention in Mali – And They Will Get It

mali France Pushing for Intervention in Mali   And They Will Get It

The war of words is already pretty intense:

Al Qaeda-linked Islamists in Mali threatened on Saturday to “open the doors of hell” for French citizens if France kept pushing for a war to retake the rebel-held north.

The renewed threats against French hostages and expatriates came ahead of a summit of French-speaking nations in Congo, where President Francois Hollande was expected to urge the rapid deployment of an African-led force to rout the Islamists.

…”If he continues to throw oil on the fire, we will send him the pictures of dead French hostages in the coming days,” said Oumar Ould Hamaha, a spokesman for Islamist group MUJWA, in an apparent reference to four French nationals seized in neighboring northern Niger in 2010.

“He will not be able to count the bodies of French expatriates across West Africa and elsewhere,” Hamaha said by telephone.

Allowing these groups to hold territory and consolidate power is intolerable so intervention is inevitable. Only the timing and scope are in question. The stakes are no doubt high for expats in West Africa but this conflict could reach back to France in the form of terrorism as well. How big is the threat on the European continent? I don’t know but it will be interesting to watch this unfold.

Covert Contact has been monitoring Mali for several months and today I rolled out a seven column widescreen live social media monitor there for this conflict. Additional monitors will probably be added as this escalates.

Maps courtesy of the CIA World Factbook