Satellite Imagery Reveals Secret Hezbollah Airstrip for Drone Takeoff and Landing

Lebanon based terror group Hezbollah has constructed an airstrip in the northern Bekaa Valley for the takeoff and landing of its unmanned aerial vehicles, satellite imagery has revealed.

Reports by IHS Jane’s indicate the airstrip was built in a sparsely populated area slightly south of the northern Lebanese region of Hermel, bordering the Syrian border, sometime between February 27, 2013 and June 19, 2014.

The airstrip itself is very simple. It consists of a single unpaved strip that is 670 meters long and 20 meters wide. Materials for the strip were taken from a nearby quarry to build up its northern end and to level it out.

The short length of the air strip indicates that it is not used to smuggle in weapons from Syria or Iran, since it is too short to be used by nearly all other transport aircraft used by either country’s air force, with the exception of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ An-74T-200 short take-off transports…

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  • Drunk_by_Noon

    That’s a 2,200′ strip!
    What the heck kind of drones are they flying?

    • El Martyachi

      … badly piloted ones?

      • Drunk_by_Noon

        I’d say!
        That’s more than a fully racked up Predator would need, and considerably more than many light aircraft with humans in them.
        Could be anything really.
        Weapons, drugs, people, terrorists…

        • dance…dancetotheradio

          Well, the 9/11 attackers didn’t plan on landing conventionally.

          • Drunk_by_Noon

            Ya got me there, but the takeoff roll will almost always be longer, and it’s not like any Arab terrorist organization has forgot how to hijack jets.
            I’m pretty sure halal hijacking procedures are even spelled-out in the hadiths, if not the actual Koran itself.
            I still say drugs, people, and light weapons but I’m only speculating.

        • El Martyachi

          Well.. that’s enough airstrip for a (simulator) Pilatus PC9. That’s 1800′ for perspective..

          • Drunk_by_Noon

            It’s awfully long, and so whoever built it had AT LEAST a Cessna aircraft in mind or maybe even some specialty light cargo aircraft, you could do lots of stuff with it.

          • El Martyachi

            I guess if you’re building an airstrip may as well build it as big as you can.

          • Drunk_by_Noon

            Actually, I was thinking the opposite.
            Digging a rough airstrip out in the desert in a royal PITA, and so whatever it’s for is likely the absolute MINIMUM it needs to be.

          • El Martyachi

            All I think I know about the Bekaa valley (that’s where this thing is right?) is that it’s been a hotbed of fruit and nutbars for ages. Oh and uh… FREELANCE DRONE PILOT FOR HIRE: PLEASE INQUIRE WITHIN

          • Drunk_by_Noon

            DRUGS
            That is why all the terrorists are there. It’s the opium capital of the ME (after Afghanistan).
            Terrorism is almost a sideline.
            Hezbollah is nothing more than a Mexican drug cartel hiding behind religious fervor. Because they want to kill Jews, everyone else looks the other way.

          • El Martyachi

            Well then what ever could they possibly want with an airstrip?

          • Drunk_by_Noon

            Smuggling is the first thing that comes to mind. Actually it’s the only thing that comes to mind.
            Anything else, considering that Hizbollah is already a recognized political entity in Lebanon, meaning that they could use existing airports for most any purpose they felt like anyway.
            Why this place? I don’t know. Maybe stuff coming in and out of Turkey or Syria via Iran, or God knows who else.

          • eMan14

            Perhaps it was Elton McDonald. Of Toronto tunnel fame. He also had a keen interest in aviation.
            “This is something I’ve always wanted to do,” he said.
            Or it’s for nefarious means.

          • Drunk_by_Noon

            In that part if the world, always safe to assume that it’s for something less than altruistic purposes.

          • El Martyachi

            Yeah, could just be a local group of R/C airplane enthusiasts.

  • Norman_In_New_York

    If we know where the airstrip is and what its dimensions are, it’s no secret anymore.

    • Drunk_by_Noon

      I’m sure the Israelis and the NRO knew about it before it was even finished.
      They use roughly the same software astronomers use to detect moving asteroids and other astronomical phenomena that changes position. The differences are that they look for structures that were not there a week ago, and an airstrip is mighty hard to hide.

      • Would it be worth it to take it out? It’s a target but not like a regular air strip or munitions factory or something.

        • Drunk_by_Noon

          That’s the funny thing about unimproved airstrips. They can be repaired by a gang of guys with shovels and a few wheelbarrows in a day or two. It not like taking out a paved tarmac that might take a week or three to put back into action.
          I’m sure somebody is keeping an eye on it, but if it’s regular Hezbollah druggie strip then it’s likely to be left alone. Not Israel’s problem unless it’s being used for something else.
          Depending on the size of the drone, you don’t need a strip at all to launch one, and you can recover them with something that looks like a giant volleyball net, or even a parachute.
          Finally drones don’t live long if you are flying them in contested airspace, so I don’t expect them to drive one over downtown Tel Aviv anytime soon.

  • Clausewitz

    A squadron of a-10 and a whole lost of Drange music from the rolling thunder revue should fix that right up.

  • markerc .

    So bomb the effin’ thing!