Israeli squadron keeps drones in the air 24/7, capable of surveillance, electronic warfare and more
By Madison Ruppert
Editor of End the Lie
Indeed, the U.S. program is likely the largest in the world with cutting edge research and development including laser technology allowing perpetual flight, unbelievably powerful camera systems, drones capable of long-distance travel thanks to solar technology, systems capable of automatically targeting and tracking individuals, drone-based facial recognition systems, 110 publicly announced potential drone bases in the United States alone and much, much more.
Yet the Israeli Air Force (IAF) doesn’t seem too far behind, given that they are now operating drones like the Heron-1, or Shoval, by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) 24 hours a day, 7 days a week according to Israel Defense.
“The number of users constantly increases,” said the first deputy to the IAF’s drone squadron identified only as “Major S.” by Israel Defense. “Every day, additional IDF commanders discover the capabilities of the UAVs [Unmanned Aerial Vehicles], and ask for the squadron’s services.”
“The ‘permanent’ UAVs are often not enough, so another UAV is diverted from a training mission to assist and satisfy the hunger of the various units for real-time information,” said Major S.
Surprisingly, the IAF has used drones for over 40 years in a wide variety of missions with technology continuing to develop rapidly.
The IAF’s drone squadron “does not have a single UAV that still retains all of the components it contained on the day it rolled off the assembly line at IAI,” according to the report.
The drone squadron also works with the Israeli Navy in using the maritime version of the Shoval which is outfitted by a maritime surveillance radar system capable of tracking targets even under harsh sea conditions, on top of the usual optical sensor payload for traditional surveillance.
“You launch a maritime surveillance UAV and it can stay over the area of interest for many hours, longer than any manned platform,” Major S. said, while Israel Defense points out that the process is increasingly common.
The Shoval, which has a wing span of around 16 meters, can easily power and carry both systems along with many other payloads which are still completely secret.
Indeed, much is secret about the capabilities, including the long-distance communication systems which Major S. wouldn’t even comment on.
Along with the Heron-TP drones, the Shoval and others are replacing the Beechcraft B-200 King Air Intelligence aircraft previously used by the IAF.
On top of the aforementioned applications, Major S. said that they are placing more importance on extended operational ranges provided by advanced satellite communication technology and multiple-sensor payloads.
“He says it is important that the squadron be provided with an improved radar capability possibly through SAR (Synthetic Aperture Radar) systems, which eliminate all of the problems caused by bad weather and haze,” Israel Defense reported.
However, given the vast amount of secrecy surrounding the program and the drone squadron in general, it would hardly be surprising if the IAF already had systems far beyond basic SAR.
Indeed Major S. said that their drones can generally “perform almost any mission” including “jamming the enemy’s surveillance layouts” and other electronic warfare missions.
“These are first-rate operational systems, to which additional missions are assigned every day,” Israel Defense concludes.
If Israel is following the United States’ lead even in the slightest, it’s almost certain that they are using drones far more often than we might think in ways which very well might be unimaginable.
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