Israel Soon to Launch New Anti-Missile Drone

A new drone designed to identify, intercept and destroy ballistic missiles as they are launched from the ground will soon make its debut.

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Hana Levi Julian, | updated: 18:01

The drone, designed and produced by the Israel Aircraft Industries, is the largest unmanned aircraft in the world.

It is a huge aircraft, almost the same size as a Boeing 737 passenger airliner with a wing span of 110 feet (35 meters), said a security official quoted in the daily newspaper Yediot Ahronot.

The aircraft is designed to fly at high altitudes and is equipped with cameras which identify the missiles as they are launched. It is also armed with missiles, which are used to intercept and destroy those which are fired by the enemy.

Named the “Eitan,” the unmanned aircraft will be used for long-range operations and is expected to make its first flight within the near future.

The development of the new anti-missile system comes as the Jewish State eyes with concern the increasing threat to its existence by sabre-rattling calls from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to “wipe Israel off the map.”

Hizbullah terrorists in southern Lebanon fired Iranian-made long-range missiles at Israel during the war last summer, hitting an Israeli naval vessel in Mediterranean waters and killing four sailors.

Syria and Iran have also broadened military cooperation in recent months. Iran agreed last June to sell missiles and establish weapons production plants in Syria. Defense ministers of the two Muslim countries said the agreement was intended as a move against Israel and the United States.

Earlier in the year, Iran conducted a successful test launch of its Shehab-3 surface-to-air (SAM) ballistic missile. The weapon is designed to carry a non-conventional weapon, such as an atomic warhead, according to a report that was published in the British Telegraph.

Russia has also been arming the Islamic Republic. Iran received the first of 29 surface-to-air missile systems from Russia in November, according to the Tass news agency. Iranian crews were trained by Russia to man the weapons.