Receive our newsletter – data, insights and analysis delivered to you
April 26, 2015

Hezbollah builds airstrip for UAVs in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley

Lebanese Shi'a militant group Hezbollah has built an airstrip to operate its fleet of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in Bekaa Valley in north-east of the country, IHS Jane's Defense Weekly has claimed.

By admin-demo

Lebanese Shi’a militant group Hezbollah has built an airstrip to operate its fleet of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in Bekaa Valley in north-east of the country, IHS Jane’s Defense Weekly has claimed.

After analysing satellite imagery published on Google Earth, the magazine reported that the airstrip is located in a remote and sparsely populated area 10km south of the town of Hermel and 18km west of the Syrian border.

The runway is believed to have been constructed between 27 February 2013 and 19 June 2014 over a shorter strip that had been in existence since 2010. It comprises a single 670m x 20m unpaved strip that could be used for launching Iranian-built Ababil-3 and possibly the Shahed-129 UAVs.

"The runway is believed to have been constructed between 27 February 2013 and 19 June 2014."

With an antenna located few metres away and linked by a track, the heavily guarded strip resembles a standard Lebanese mobile telephone tower, and has six small utility buildings in its vicinity, none capable of housing a UAV the size of an Ababil-3.

However, there is a facility located 2.5km west of the airstrip that includes two utility buildings large enough to accommodate UAVs.

Hezbollah sources have confirmed to the publication that the group is using UAVs to support operations against rebel forces in Syria, especially over the mountainous Qalamoun region on eastern border of Lebanon.

Content from our partners
Bespoke harsh environment connector solutions set Omnetics apart from competitors
Growing opportunities for Unmanned Aerial Systems
Keeping the defence world connected with Smiths Interconnect

Meanwhile, a Hezbollah MP denied the claims that the organisation possesses a runway in north-east Lebanon.

Loyalty to the Resistance Bloc member Walid Sukkarieh was quoted by Al-Jumhouriya as saying: "The location mentioned by the magazine, which is 10km south of Hermel and 18km west of the Lebanese-Syrian border, contains my own village, al-Fakiha.

"If there was an airstrip or works to build one, all the residents of the Baalbek valley would have seen it with their own eyes."

According to IHS Jane’s, Hezbollah has flown UAVs from Lebanese airspace since at least November 2004.

Related Companies

NEWSLETTER Sign up Tick the boxes of the newsletters you would like to receive. The top stories of the day delivered to you every weekday. A weekly roundup of the latest news and analysis, sent every Monday. The defence industry's most comprehensive news and information delivered every month.
I consent to GlobalData UK Limited collecting my details provided via this form in accordance with the Privacy Policy
SUBSCRIBED

THANK YOU