Satellite images reveal Hezbollah-built airstrip for Iranian UAV flights

A hidden airstrip has been discovered in Lebanon that is used by Hezbollah terrorists for Iranian UAV take-offs and landings.  

Iran UAV

An Iranian UAV on display. (IRNA)

The Lebanese-based Hezbollah terror organization has constructed an airstrip in the northern Bekaa Valley for Iranian-made unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), IHS Jane’s Military weekly reports.

Basing their report on satellite-images analysis, the prestigious defense and security news resource writes that the runway, which consists of a single unpaved strip, was built in a remote and sparsely populated area west of the Syrian border.

Imagery that recently became available to the public on Google Earth indicates that it was built sometime between February 2013 and June 2014 over a shorter strip that was in existence at least as far back as 2010.

In the weekly’s estimation, the short length of the runway suggests that the facility was not constructed for the purpose of weapons smuggling from Syria or Iran, as it is too short for most of the transport aircraft used by their air forces. Therefore, the Jane’s analysts conclude, it must have been built to accommodate Iranian-made drones.

Hezbollah sources confirmed to Jane’s that the organization has been using UAVs to support its operations in the civil war in Syria, particularly over the mountainous Qalamoun region on Lebanon’s eastern border.

The site, which is guarded by a checkpoint and swing gate, resembles other Hezbollah facilities scattered around the Bekaa Valley.

Several Attempts in Israeli Airspace

Hezbollah has been operating UAVs from Lebanese airspace since at least November 2004, when it dispatched a brief reconnaissance mission over northern Israel. It then attempted to fly at least three such aircraft into Israeli territory during the Second Lebanon War in the summer of 2006.

Hezbollah said it was responsible for an Iranian-made aircraft that was shot down over southern Israel on October 6, 2012. Iranian UAVs have been spotted on numerous occasions in Syrian airspace, Jane’s reports.

Hezbollah’s primary backer is Iran. The Islamic Republic recently revealed and tested its new suicide drones, which can be used against a variety of aerial and ground targets.