Hezbollah Amassed 2,000 Drones as Part of Iran’s ‘UAV Army’
The Lebanon-based group Hezbollah is estimated to have amassed about 2,000 unmanned aerial vehicles over the past 15 years with the help of its Iranian sponsor, according to a new report by the Israel-based Alma Research Center.
Hezbollah has received both advanced UAVs from Iran, as well as assistance in developing and manufacturing them independently, according to the report. The Islamist group has deployed drones since the 1990s in Lebanon, Syria, and against Israel. Hezbollah is believed to have had less than 50 UAVs in 2006, the year of the Second Lebanon War, but subsequently ramped up its arsenal to 200 by 2013. It had about 800 UAVs in 2016, according to the report.
Hezbollah “most likely” has advanced UAV models like the Karrar type, which is meant to disrupt airstrikes, and the Saegheh type, which can carry anti-tank missiles, among others. The group additionally uses dozens of drones, mostly Chinese-made, for photography as well as for carrying and dropping bombs.
Since Iran developed its first drone back in 1984, it has built up a “UAV army” capable of deployment across the Middle East, significantly extending the country’s operational reach, according to the report. The UAVs pose a distinct threat to Israel, as a “swarm” could attack air defense systems in the country’s north or shut down the Haifa port.
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