IDF deploys Patriot defense battery on Mt. Carmel

Move follows drone intrusion into Negev; surface-to-air battery can intercept medium-range ballistic missiles, planes, drones.

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October 8, 2012 15:24
1 minute read.
Patriot anti-missile battery site

Patriot anti-missile battery 311. (photo credit: Reuters)

 
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The IDF deployed a Patriot surface-to-air missile battery on Mount Carmel near Haifa on Monday.

The move came two days after an unidentified drone intruded into Israeli air space and flew over the northern Negev and southern West Bank, before being shot down by Israeli F-16I fighter jets.

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The IDF Spokesman’s Office confirmed the deployment of the Patriot battery, but added that “this is not an unusual occurrence.”

Channel 2 said the deployment came due to the possibility that further attempts would be made to send drones into Israeli air space.

The Patriot system can intercept medium-range ballistic missiles and planes, and is also believed to be capable of shooting down drones. It can intercept threats between the ranges of 60 to 160 kilometers.

The batteries are operated by the IDF’s Air Defense Command.

On Saturday morning, the IAF shot down a small unmanned aerial vehicle as it flew over southern Israel in one of the most flagrant violations of Israeli airspace by a hostile party in years.

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The craft was likely operated by Hezbollah, with Iranian backing. It did not carry any explosives, and appears to have been dispatched on an intelligence-gathering mission, as well as to test Israel’s air defenses.

A squadron of F-16I fighter jets was scrambled from the Ramon Air Force Base in the Negev Desert immediately after the UAV was identified. The pilots received instructions to trail the mysterious craft for a while, before being told to blow it out of the sky for safety reasons.

At 10 a.m. one of the fighter jets launched a missile, directly striking and downing the UAV.

On the ground, bomb squad soldiers from the IDF Engineering Corps were waiting to pick up the burnt debris. They rounded up the fragments and took them to military labs for analysis.

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