Israeli "Skylark" drone crash site inIsraeli "Skylark" drone crash site in Lebanon, May 2017..
(photo credit: ARAB MEDIA)
The IDF said on Tuesday that an IDF Skylark unmanned aerial vehicle slammed in the earth in the central Gaza Strip for as yet unknown reasons the previous day.
Hamas retrieved the miniature drone near the Maghazi refugee camp, but the military said there was no risk that classified information would be compromised.
Monday’s crash is the latest of several over the past several years. Last Thursday, another Skylark went down near Bethlehem before being recovered by the IDF.
The Skylark, built by Haifa-based Elbit Systems and operated by the Artillery Corps, is the IDF’s smallest drone, with a wingspan of 2.3 meters, and operates on all fronts for tactical surveillance. It can be operated by one or two soldiers, including from a roof or in the back of an armored personnel carrier, and provides live-video once airborne.
While it is an effective and popular drone, there have been several crashes since it was delivered to the IDF Ground Forces in 2010, including this past April when one crashed in Gaza City’s Shejaia neighborhood.
In March, Hezbollah claimed to have shot down a Skylark after it penetrated Syrian airspace in Quneitra, just over the Golan border. The Syrian Defense Ministry later said that its air defense unit had shot down a drone over the outskirts of Quneitra, without specifying the UAV’s origin. The IDF’s Spokesperson’s Unit denied that the drone had been shot down.
In January, another Skylark crashed in southern Lebanon after suffering a technical malfunction. Hezbollah reported the following day that it had found pieces of it. A week later the IDF temporarily lost contact with a Skylark over the Balata refugee camp on the eastern edge of Nablus and following overnight searches located it near a Samaria Brigade post.
In July 2015, another Skylark crashed in the Gaza Strip as a result of a malfunction. Hamas’s Izzadin Kassam military wing recovered its remnants and subsequently released a video claiming to have put it back together, making it operational.