No one has yet claimed responsibility for attack on some military facilities on the territory of Iran on January 29, 2022. The government of Iran has already managed to blame the attack on Israel and, quite surprisingly, Ukraine, which does not even have weapons of such a range at its disposal (and if it did, then Iran was definitely not the number 1 target). But it seems that information has finally appeared on how exactly the strike on the drone factory in Isfahan and some other Iranian facilities could have been carried out.

Back in November of last year, Israel, which usually does not advertise or reveal information about its own drones, published some information about Israel Defense Forces UAVs. Commenting on the video of the use of drones by the Armed Forces of Ukraine against the Russian invaders, Brigadier General Neri Horowitz remarked: “We have the same application here.”

The IAI Eitan / Heron TP UAV – a possible executor of an attack on Iranian military facilities

In addition, the commander of Brigadier-General Omri Dor, commander of Palmachin airbase, said drones now accounted for 80% of the Israeli military’s operational flight hours, and 30% of drone operators are women.

And today Reuters, citing senior Israeli military officials, writes that Israeli drones use free-falling bombs that make it difficult to detect attacking UAVs because such bombs do not leave a smoke trail and do not make any sounds. Most likely, we are talking about high-precision bombs of the JDAM type.

The IAI Eitan / Heron TP UAV – a possible executor of an attack on Iranian military facilities

Which of the Israel Defense Forces drones can carry such a load and be used at such a distance? There is almost only one option – IAI Eitan, aka Heron TP in the export version.

The IAI Eitan has a range of up to 7,400 km (over 30 hours in the air), which is enough to reach any point in Iran, an operational ceiling of 14,000 m, which will allow it to pass over the vaunted Russian air defense (at least a part of it), and most importantly, this UAV can carry up to 2,700 kg of payload, including gravity bombs. Bingo!

The IAI Eitan / Heron TP UAV – a possible executor of an attack on Iranian military facilities

The IDF has 10 to 15 IAI Eitans in service. In addition, 10 such UAVs, in the Heron TP version, were bought by India, three by Greece, and three more by Germany.

There is unconfirmed information (this is the Air Force of Liechtenstein, not Israel!) that in 2009 in Sudan several IAI Eitan participated in the destruction of a convoy with Iranian weapons headed for the Gaza Strip. And Sudan is almost the same distance from Israel as Iran.

A couple of such “aircraft” would be useful for us. All the more so since there was information that the Israeli government is reviewing its own position regarding the supply of Israeli weapons to Ukraine. Let’s see.

AI Eitan / Heron TP general specifications
Length – 14 m
Wingspan – 26 m
Maximum take-off weight – 5,400 kg
Capacity – 2,700 kg payload
Powerplant – 1 × Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6-67A, 900 kW (1200 hp)
Maximum speed – 407 km/h
Range – 7,400 km
Endurance – 30+ hours
Service ceiling – 14,000 m