Drone battles are future of conflict, says IDF chief artillery officer

Firefights between drones may be the future of warfare in the region, says IDF Chief Artillery Officer Neri Horowitz.

Members of the IDF's Sky Rider Unit in operation (photo credit: IDF SPOKESMAN’S UNIT)
Members of the IDF's Sky Rider Unit in operation
(photo credit: IDF SPOKESMAN’S UNIT)

Future conflicts with Hamas in the Gaza Strip or Hezbollah in Lebanon could involve clashes between drones, IDF OC Artillery Corps Brig.-Gen. Neri Horowitz said on Wednesday.

"The enemy is evolving in the Gaza Strip and Lebanon," Horowitz said at the UVID 2021 conference. "We must know how to distinguish between a friend and an enemy and deal with enemy capabilities."

The chief artillery officer added that unmanned vehicles will join combat alongside manned forces in a variety of operations, including attacks, evacuations, security patrols, maneuvering in enemy territory and helping expose the enemy and allowing soldiers to see and hear in all environments.

"In the tactical space, the IDF wants a lot of updated and advanced tools, autonomous systems that are simple to operate and can be multiplied on large scales," said Horowitz.

The chief artillery officer added that while in the past war had three dimensions: land, sea and air, today three additional dimensions have been added: cyber, underground and electromagnetic.

 A drone is launched during a large-scale drone combat exercise of Army of the Islamic Republic of Iran, in Semnan, Iran January 6, 2021.  (credit: IRANIAN ARMY/WANA (WEST ASIA NEWS AGENCY) VIA REUTERS) A drone is launched during a large-scale drone combat exercise of Army of the Islamic Republic of Iran, in Semnan, Iran January 6, 2021. (credit: IRANIAN ARMY/WANA (WEST ASIA NEWS AGENCY) VIA REUTERS)

"The goal is for an infantry battalion commander fighting in a Lebanese village to be able to talk with everyone and receive all the IDF's capabilities," he said.

Horowitz added that he sees unmanned aircraft as "an element in the security and strategy of the State of Israel." He added that in addition to the two UAV units already operational in the Artillery Corps, a third unit will be established in the near future.

"There is no more exclusivity, everything is multi-armed and multi-dimensional. Sky Rider (a drone unit) is operated by the Artillery Corps. The vertical dimension is part of the war."

On Monday, an Iron Dome battery fired a missile at a Hamas drone crossing into the sea from the Gaza Strip, according to the IDF Spokesperson's Unit.