WorldTribune.com has reported Israeli statements that drone use by the Israeli Air Force has increased by 50% in the past five years, primarily observing the Gaza and Southern Lebanon.
Lt Col Amir Weiss, reported in Israeli National News.com claims that 50% of the flight hours of the Israeli Air Force are now performed by drones. Weiss was speaking at the International Aerospace Conference and Exhibition in December 2011, held in Jerusalem. Billed as an ‘international’ conference, few of the participants were from outside Israel, and the conference featured a range of discussions (mostly unreported) about Israeli military issues, by high ranking military officers and and executives in the aerospace field.
The Air Force acknowledged flying Hermes, Herons, Searchers and Skylarks, according to World Tribune. Not only do they gather information but they ‘support ground forces’ (which we might assume means participating in attacks-ed).
While the Israelis will obviously be happy that their drone programmes have been so successful, the recent capture of the American spy drone in Iran must give pause. Not only does the crash rate of drones remain disturbingly high, the spectre of drones being captured electronically has to weigh heavily on the forces that count on them.