Israeli "Skylark" drone crash site inIsraeli "Skylark" drone crash site in Lebanon, May 2017..
(photo credit: ARAB MEDIA)
An IDF Skylark drone – known in Hebrew as a “Sky Rider” – crashed near Nablus on Tuesday morning, the army said. It was the sixth crash of an IDF tactical surveillance drone this year.
The drone fell inside the Askar refugee camp as troops were making arrests of wanted Palestinians during an overnight raid. It was later retrieved by Palestinians and returned to army, which said no classified information was lost.
The Sky Rider fell out of the sky for unknown reasons and the incident is being investigated, the military said.
Built by Elbit Systems and operated by the Artillery Corps, the Sky Rider is the IDF’s smallest drone, measuring 2.3 meters in length. It operates on all fronts for tactical surveillance. The drone can be launched by one or two soldiers and can be operated on the roof of buildings or in the back of armored personnel carriers, providing live-video to operators once the device is airborne.
While it is considered an effective and popular drone, there have been several crashes since it was delivered to ground forces in 2010.
Last week, a Sky Rider fell in the southern Gaza Strip. A week earlier, one crashed near Bethlehem before it was recovered by the IDF.
Two months earlier, another Sky Rider crashed in southern Lebanon.
In March, Hezbollah claimed to have shot down one of the drones, saying it infiltrated Syrian airspace in Quneitra. The Syrian Defense Ministry later released a statement that its air defense unit had shot down a drone over the outskirts of Quneitra, without specifying the device’s origin. The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit denied reports the drone had been shot down.
In January, a Sky Rider crashed in southern Lebanon due to a technical malfunction. The following day, Hezbollah claimed to have found pieces of the drone as the IDF was still trying to locate it.
The IDF one week later lost contact with a Sky Rider positioned over the Balata refugee camp in Nablus. Following overnight searches, it was located near a Samaria Brigade post.
In July 2015, a malfunction caused another such drone to fall in the Gaza Strip. Hamas recovered the remnants of the crashed device and later released a video claiming to have reassembled it, making it operational.