Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Was it practicing for a strike on Iran? Top secret Israeli drone - with wingspan as big as 737 - crashes on test flight

A long-range drone capable of surveillance and bombing missions over Iran crashed near an Israeli air base during a test flight on Sunday.

The Heron TP unmanned aircraft, which has a massive wingspan nearly that of a Boeing 737, can stay aloft for 40 hours and has a range of 4,600 miles, the Israeli air force said.

According to initial findings, the crash occurred after the UAV performed a maneuver beyond its capabilities, causing one of its wings to break off.

The Israel Air Force opened an investigation.

General Ido Nehushtan, commander of the Israeli air force, said new technology on the drone was being tested when the aircraft crashed into an orchard near the Tel Nof air base outside Rehovot.

A preliminary investigation indicated that human error and a technical malfunction contributed to the accident, the air force said, adding that the investigation is ongoing. Read More