SEC.-LT. ITZIK COHEN holds a Sky Rider drone before takeoff .
(photo credit: YAAKOV LAPPIN)
The IDF’s Ground Forces Command unveiled its first ever aircraft simulator,
designed to train the Artillery Corps Sky Rider drone unit, the IDF said on
The Sky Rider unit – the only drone operator that does not belong
to the Israel Air Force – recently took possession of an upgraded version of the
remote-controlled aircraft, which entered service in 2010.
On Sunday, one
of the Sky Rider drones crashed in the Gaza Strip
, following a technical
During a ceremony held last week in the presence of the Chief
Artillery Corps Officer Brig.-Gen. Roee Riftin, the simulator was unveiled at
the Ramon training base in Mitzpe Ramon, where the unit is based.
Sky Rider Unit is one of the most necessary units in the Ground Forces,” Riftin
said. “Now, the onus will be on creating even better soldiers.”
simulator will allow cadets to master control of the drone and will simulate a
range of night and daytime scenarios, as well as various weather conditions and
terrains. It will train future members of the unit to operate the drone in
conjunction with tanks, and to deal with rocket launchers, terror suspects and
other hostile entities, “without eroding real drones through drills,” the IDF
The drones, which are launched manually by soldiers throwing them
into the air, are expected to form a key part of any future full scale ground
Cameras on board the Sky Rider drone provide thermal imaging,
allowing nighttime observation.
Sky Rider is also playing an increasing
role in counter terror raids in the West Bank, sending back images of villages
as arrests occur.
Its video images have been used to conduct surveillance
of rioters and later help prosecute them in court.
Weisman, the newly appointed commander of Sky Rider, said, “Thanks to the
simulator, the readiness of the crews for war will improve
After the ceremony, the unit’s officers entered the
simulator and used it to track down a car containing terrorists that was
selected for “attack.” The officers oversaw the “destruction” of the vehicle.