Israeli drone 248.88.
(photo credit: http://www.israeli-weapons.com/weapons/aircraft/ua)
The Israel Air Force is seeking to augment its drone capability with the
procurement of new medium-altitude unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), some of
which are capable, according to foreign reports, of firing missiles.
decision was made to buy Elbit Systems’ Hermes 900 and additional units of
Israel Aerospace Industries Heron 1, which is the IAF’s reconnaissance and
The IAF purchased three Hermes 900 UAVs for
evaluation in May 2010 and is waiting for final approval to purchase additional
systems from the IDF General Staff, which is in the midst of finalizing the
military’s multi-year procurement plan for the coming five years.
plans are to establish a new squadron of medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE)
UAVs consisting of the Hermes 900 and the Heron 1.
The Hermes 900 is
based on the smaller Hermes 450, which has been in IAF service for a number of
years, and according to foreign media reports is used frequently to fire
missiles at terrorist targets in the Gaza Strip.
The Hermes 900 can carry
almost double the size of the payload of the smaller Hermes 450, including an
electrooptic camera, laser designator, radar, electronic intelligence and
A diplomatic cable published by WikiLeaks last week
detailed a discussion last year between Military Advocate- General Maj.-Gen.
Avichai Mandelblit and the US ambassador regarding a drone attack during
Operation Cast Lead in 2009.
Mandelblit met with the US Ambassador James
Cunningham to update him on the IDF’s investigations into Operation Cast Lead
and to ask for help in containing the Goldstone Report and preventing the
International Criminal Court from investigating alleged Israeli war
One of the cases discussed during the meeting was the bombing of
a group of Hamas terrorists who were standing next to a mosque in Gaza during
The door to the mosque, which was full of people, had been
left open and shrapnel flew inside killing 16 Palestinians.
said the facts were known: A UAV shot at two Hamas fighters in front of the
mosque and 16 casualties resulted inside the mosque due to an open door through
which shrapnel entered during a time of prayer,” Cunningham wrote in the cable
that was sent to the State Department.