Iraq is continuing to develop an unmanned air vehicle (UAV) based on the Aero Vodochody L-29 jet trainer, according to the Central Intelligence Agency's (CIA) latest report to the US Congress.

A UN Special Commission (UNSCOM) inspecting Iraq's weapons of mass destruction developments in the mid- and late-1990s identified the L-29 UAV programme. UNSCOM suggested the UAV was intended to release chemical and biological warfare agents. Talil, the airbase where the work was performed, was subsequently targeted during Operation Desert Fox in December 1998.

In the report, which covers January-June last year, the CIA says that Iraq was believed to have been flying the L-29 UAV for training purposes and possibly to test system developments.

As well as the L-29 UAV, the CIA says that Iraq continues to develop short-range ballistic missiles, including solid-propellant fuels and new weapons, and it suggests this work could be extended to include longer range systems.

Source: Flight International