(photo credit: reuters)
The Israel Air Force held a large exercise for fighter jets and combat helicopters in recent days to practice shooting down hostile drones.
The drill is part of a series of training exercises designed to prepare pilots for the growing threat of the drones that Hezbollah and Hamas have.
The pilots simulated responses to the detection of drones near the country’s borders, and scrambling aircraft on interception missions.
In addition to pilots, air controllers, equipped with detection and alert systems, took part in the exercise.
“This year, we drilled responses to a different type of drone. One that is more advanced, faster and which can remain in the air longer than the standard drone, and therefore it presents a new challenge for air crews,” said Capt. Kobi, the ground safety officer at Ramon Air Base in southern Israel.
“The training on this specific issue is designed to enable a preemptive treatment,” Kobi added. “This t hreat is g rowing steadily, and the air force is not closing its eyes and ignoring it, but rather, it is preparing for the hour of need.”
In April 2013, an IAF F-16 fighter jet shot down a drone over t he Mediterranean Sea, off the coast of Haifa, which had flown south from Lebanon.
The IAF shot down a drone sent from Lebanon by Hezbollah over the Negev in October 2012. That drone did not carry explosives and likely had been dispatched on an intelligence-gathering mission as well as to test Israel’s air defenses, security officials said at the time.