Germany is the fifth foreign nation to acquire the Heron TP drone or other Israeli unmanned aerial vehicle technology for support missions against the Taliban and al Qaeda in Afghanistan, DEBKAfile's military sources report. Today, these drones complement the US Air Force's dominant role in Afghanistan air space, thanks to two useful features and the CIA's shortage of Predators for its own and NATO use:
1. The Israeli drones are cheaper.
2. The Herons' operational features include a long-distance range, the ability to stay aloft for 52 hours non-stop and tracking and targeting capabilities. They can carry out complex functions such as in-flight refueling and slotting into strategic missile defense systems.
Equipped with 1,200-horsepower engines, they carry 250 kilos of ordnance, mainly air-ground missiles. With this load, the Israel UAVs can reach an altitude of 11,000 meters. Flying empty, it can reach a height of13,700 meters. This means that the Heron can fly above regular commercial air traffic without becoming icebound thanks to another special feature, which is important in the freezing Afghan winters.
Our military sources report that the Canadian armed forces began using Israel UAVs a year ago, hiring them on charter from Israel's Aviation Industries. ...
Afghanistan: Terrorists get butts kicked. Strategy Page:
November 3, 2009: Two weeks of fighting in South Waziristan have left nearly 400 Taliban and al Qaeda dead, along with about 40 soldiers. Nearly has many Pakistani civilians and security personnel have been killed by terror attacks. While there are high (media) profile operations, they have little impact on Pakistani military capabilities, and have increased public support for the military offensive in the tribal territories.
Pakistan has seven brigades of troops advancing into South Waziristan ...
SWJ roundup. A sample of the stories Small Wars Journal is following this morning: Afghan presidential runoff canceled; suicide bomber kills 35 near Pakistan army headquarters; US concerned about Iraq election delay; Clinton tells Iran that US position will not change; and much more. Read it at the link.