A senior source from the Sky Rider drone unit, which is playing a vital role in securing ground forces and directing them to enemy targets, gave an insight into the unit’s role in the battlefields of Gaza.
The drone is launched by hand, weighs 7 kilograms, and flies silently over enemy territory, gathering real-time intelligence for ground forces.
It identifies threats like anti-tank missile launchers, and has taken a lead role in detecting tunnel shafts.
Since June 12, the start of Operation Brother’s Keeper that preceded Defensive Edge, we have been in an emergency situation, said a source from the unit. Most of the soldiers deployed on the ground today are reservists, he added.
We are up in the air 24/7, carrying out 100 flights a day, the source said. IDF battalion and brigade commanders and intelligence officers won’t let us leave the air. They’ve come to rely on the intelligence we provide, the source said.
Drones have transmitted back live footage of terrorists firing anti-tank missiles from windows of Gazan buildings, and have helped direct ground forces to an accurate counterstrike.
We are in front of the forces, and above them, in constant communication with them, the source said. We also provide them with alerts before threats materialize.
A good proportion of tunnel shafts have been identified by the Sky Rider drone unit, the source added.
The Sky Rider is the smallest aircraft in the IDF, giving it both advantages and disadvantages. Its small size and electric engine make it practically undetectable to enemy forces. On the other hand, it also makes it vulnerable to flight path errors.
We are able to tell the forces on the ground what’s around the corner, the source said.