Few days ago Iran reportedly shot down an Israeli “stealth” drone near one of its nuclear enrichment facilities. But there are several weird things in Tehran authorities report of the shooting down.
On Aug. 24, several Iranian media outlets reported the news of an Israeli drone shot down near Natanz nuclear enrichment facility in central Iran.
According to FARS, the Revolutionary Guards Public (IRGC) Relations Department said that the drone was a stealth, radar-evading model targeted by a surface-to-air missile. Then, on Aug. 25, Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Aerospace Force Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh said that “The downed spy drone is Hermes and made in Israel.”
Indeed, the drone is identical to a mysterious drone shot down in 2011 by Armenian forces in the disputed territory of Nagorno Karabakh. At that time Azerbaijan denied the unmanned aircraft belonged to Baku. Then a drone of the same type, most probably made in Israel (with inputs from both the Hermes 180 and 450) was displayed during an Armenian parade as the following image shows.
Interestingly, the “Azeri” drone showcased in the parade (nose section has been highlighted to help identifying it in the images of wreckage) didn’t carry any national flag/roundel, unlike the other models operated by the Azerbaijani forces.
We don’t know anything about this somehow mysterious drone but its range is unlikely to make a round trip to Natanz possible from both Azerbaijan and northern Iraq (someone suggested this could be the launch area). Actually, the size of the drone is quite small, much smaller than a Hermes 450, meaning that it’s most probably a tactical, short-medium range UAV.
Indeed, most recent reports said that the aircraft was shot down “on the way” to Natanz. So, it seems more likely that the drone, made-in-Israel (although it’s not confirmed) and possibly launched from Azerbaijan was shot down/crashed somewhere closer to the border and then moved near Natanz.
H/T to Giuliano Ranieri and Farzam Mir for providing additional details to this report.
For this reason, when on Jul. 22 rockets fell close to Ben Gurion international airport, in Tel Aviv, Delta Airlines and several U.S. and European airlines decided to cancell all their flights to Israel not to jeopardize the safety of their planes.
At the time Delta decided it was not safe to fly to Israel, DL468, a Boeing 747-400 was en route from JFK to Tel Aviv. The flight was then diverted to Paris Charles De Gaulle international airport.
Along with Delta, United Airlines, American Airlines, Lufthansa, Air France, Alitalia and other airlines decided to cancel their flights to Tel Aviv, most of them for at least 24 – 36 hours, or “until further notice.”
Al Qassam Brigades are using their Twitter feed to show an Armed Drone flying over Gaza.
Ezzedeen Al Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Islamic Resistance Movement Hamas are flying an UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) over Gaza Strip and are using the social media to show footage and photographs of the rarely seen Ababil A1B armed drone.
Ababil (Persian: ابابیل, “swallow”) is the name of a large family of UAV made in Iran developed for tactical reconnaissance, short/medium range attack and as target drones.
Notheworthy, the Ababil 1 is one of the less known variants belonging to the family, which includes the Ababil 3, reportedly shot down in Iraq by a U.S. F-16 in February 2009, the Ababil 5 medium range recon drone; the Ababil-T, a a twin-tailed attack variant used by Hezbollah in northern Israel; and several other scarcely seen or unconfirmed models, as the Ababil-R and the Ababil-S.
The aircraft depicted in the footage released by Hamas carries four AGMs (Air-to-Ground Missiles) even though it is almost impossible to say whether they are real weapons or just mock ups.
In fact, the group claimed on Twitter that the A1B carried out three missions over Israeli military bases and a specific mission over the Israeli war ministry but the fact the drone didn’t use any of the on board weaponry seems to suggest it does not have a real capability to use it.
In other words, even if we can’t rule the possibility that Hamas’s drones can use their air-to-surface weapons, it seems that it carries four missiles it can’t fire.
These missiles are quite similar to those carried by Fotros, the largest Iranian UCAV to date. When it was unveiled, the Fotros was showcased carrying missiles that resembled the AGM-114 Hellfire. They sported a ‘K-2′ written on them in a similar style to that seen on AGM-114K-2 missiles.
Nevertheless, the unprecedented activity by Hamas drones is confirmed by the Israeli Defense Force, that confirmed to have shot down a UAV with a Patriot missile, near Ashdod, earlier on Monday Jul. 14.
But it is quite surprising to see a small/medium drone, as the Ababil 1, flying (almost undisturbed) over Gaza (especially since the airspace over the Strip is currently filled with Israeli Air Force fighter planes). And, above all, it is weird such a small UAV does carry weapons and surveillance sensors: all things that imply a significant payload and require larger airframes, more robust wings and engineering capabilities not believed to be in Hamas possession until today.
The first Israeli Air Force C-130J Super Hercules (dubbed “Samson”) arrived at Nevatim air base. But on its way to its new airbase, it was welcomed by other IAF support aircraft for a fantastic and unusual shot.
The first of four C-130J has arrived in Israel. The new aircraft joined the Heavy Transport Division of the force.
The Israeli Air Force C-130Js, are those featuring a longer fuselage, capable to accommodate 92 paratroopers and their equipment or, alternatively, four military SUVs or 128 soldiers.
With the arrival of the first new cargo plane (the remaining three C-130Js will be delivered by the end of this year and the beginning of 2015), the Israeli Air Force will consolidate its transport fleet: the 103 Sqn “Elephants” squadron, that will operate the new “Samson”, will be absorbed into the 131 Sqn “Knights of the yellow bird” which mainly uses upgraded H-model examples.
During its delivery flight, the new C-130J was met mid-air by other aircraft of the IAF based at Nevatim: a C-130H “Karnaf”, a G-V Nachshon Shavit spyplane and a KC-707 Re’em.
The image used by the Israel’s Air Force to advertise an article about the Israeli Space Week features a battle of spacecrafts: error or subliminal message?
It must have been a mistake but the image that the Israeli Air Force posted on Facebook, along with the link to the article on the IAF official website that celebrates the Israeli Space Week, shows a sort of cosmic battle.
Still, the image (a very well known space wallpaper that you can download at different sizes from several websites, including this one) chosen for the Facebook post is a bit “aggressive”: maybe by accident, because an alien invasion is imminent or just because Israel knows very well where the future wars are going to be fought.