May 12, 2013
A highly-placed Israeli source elaborates on a partially truthful Ynetnews report that Israel destroyed an advanced Shoval (“Heron”) drone that was on a mission over the sea between Tel Aviv and Netanya. Israel did indeed destroy the drone, one of the most advanced in its fleet. Here is what its manufacturer had to say about it after its October 2012 launch:
The drone, called Heron 1 (Shoval), will help improve Israel’s Naval and Air Force’s recognition of unknown or hostile ships and aircraft even if they are 300 km away, with a radar that can reach Turkey, Cyprus or Egypt.
“The system can inquire and intercept any object within just a few minutes,” an IAI official told the newspaper on Sunday, after the Shoval drone had concluded a demonstration in which the new cameras captured every detail of a ship sailing the Mediterranean.
“The Shoval has satellite communication abilities, which means any footage it takes will be broadcasted [sic] online to distant location like Paris [!],” the official said.
But there was no “malfunction.” Rather an unknown hostile force exploited a breach in the navigation system and took control of the vehicle.
Once the drone became unresponsive, the IAF realized either it could be crashed into a sensitive Israeli target or else hijacked to Lebanon or Syria. At that point, the IAF launched flares over Israeli territory in a search to find it. They must’ve succeeded, which enabled them to destroy it.
I do not know who took control of the aerial vehicle. It was either Iranian forces or Hezbollah (or both). That makes it likely the drone was patrolling over Lebanon or Syria. The Ynetnews report said it was on a “routine” mission, which could mean anything or nothing.
Further support for my source may be found in the decision to ground the entire Shoval fleet. The hijackers discovered a weakness in the drone’s software controls and they can’t be flown again until it’s fixed.
This article was posted: Sunday, May 12, 2013 at 4:03 am