‘Israel’ fears Hezbollah fighters in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza would deploy exploding drones against it in a future war, chief of the Israeli air force said on Monday.
“We will have to cope with dozens of pilotless aerial vehicles, in both the northern and southern fronts,” Major-General Shachar Shohat, told a Tel Aviv “security conference.”
Uzi Rabin, an Israeli aerospace expert, said Israel’s “Iron Dome” and Patriot missile interceptors were capable of shooting down most drones.
Israel is separately developing the so-called Iron Beam, a laser system for vaporizing short-range mortar bombs and says it also will be able to destroy small drones.
Shohat said the fighters’ drones would range from radio-controlled model airplanes weighing a few kilos to large drones with payloads of hundreds of kilos.
Another air force officer said Shohat was referring to drones carrying explosives and designed to crash into targets.
Drones flew over the occupied territories airspace from Lebanon on at least two occasions in 2012 and 2013, apparently on photography missions. Israeli jets shot them down.
After the 2012 incident, Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah acknowledged sending a drone that flew some 25 miles (40 km) into Israel. He said the drone’s parts were made in Iran and it was assembled by Hezbollah in Lebanon.