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“The drone was on a spying mission above the town of Hadar when it was shot down,” the Syrian television said.

The Syrian military sources noted that the Israeli drone was a Skylark I.

Quneitra has seen heavy fighting between forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad and rebels including al-Qaeda-linked fighters.

Israel has struck Syria several times since the start of the latter’s nearly four-year war on terrorist groups.

Skylark I is a small unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) developed by Israel’s Elbit Systems Company.

Skylark I is a miniature unmanned aerial vehicle. It is designed as a manpacked system for tactical surveillance and reconnaissance. Skylark is launched by hand. The payload consists of daylight CCD or optional FLIR for night operations. During operation, it sends real-time video to a portable ground station. Recovery involves a deep stall maneuver, landing on a small inflatable cushion. It has a range of 20/40 km.

In August an Israeli Hermes drone was shot down in the vicinity of Baghdad Airport, the second such loss in less than three days after another Israeli pilotless drone of the same model was shot down by Iranian troops in the Central parts of the country.

The Arabic-language Al-Mayadin TV channel reported that an Israeli drone crashed near Baghdad Airport, adding that the unmanned aircraft was a Hermes Model.

FNA correspondent in Baghdad reported that the US embassy security staff rushed to the crash site and collected the debris and the remains of the downed Israeli drone.

This was the third drone loss by the Israeli army in one month. The first drone was shot down by Palestinians in Gaza a few weeks earlier.

A former Pentagon official said the Israeli army was alarmed after the downing of its pilotless plane in Iraq and “put on hold all Hermes missions in regions where Iran or its allied forces are present”.

Iran’s ally, the Hezbollah Movement, has shot down several Israeli drones in Southern Lebanon in the last few years.

The former US military official, who asked to remain unnamed, reminded that Iran’s forces or its technology and weapons systems are present in several countries across the region, and the repeated downing of the same model of drones has now become meaningful to Israeli army analysts.

“Following the IDF decision, all Hermes missions will be halted in skies over Iran, Iraq, Syria, Palestinian territories and Lebanon,” he told FNA.

A few days earlier in August, Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) announced in a statement that it had shot down a similar Israeli drone near the highly sensitive nuclear enrichment facility in Natanz in Central Iran.

The IRGC Public Relations Department said in the statement that the Israeli pilotless aircraft was a radar-evading, stealth drone with the mission to spy on Iran’s Natanz nuclear enrichment plant.

The IRGC also pointed out in its statement that the Israeli hostile aircraft had been targeted by a surface-to-air missile.

The IRGC has warned that it “reserves the right of response and retaliation for itself”.

A few hours later, Director of the IRGC’s Public Relations Department General Ramezan Sharif told FNA that some of the parts of the downed aircraft are working, “and our experts are studying the information and intelligence of these parts”.

“We are now analyzing the information of this plane,” he added.

Then, Commander of the IRGC Aerospace Force Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh announced on Monday that “the downed spy drone is Hermes and made in Israel”.

He said the operational range of Hermes drones is 800 kilometers, adding that the aircraft can fly 1,600 kilometers by refueling once.

The General said parts of the aircraft have burnt out after it was targeted by the ground-to-air missiles of the IRGC Aerospace Force and after its fuel tank blast, yet “some parts of this drone are intact and we are now analyzing the information and intel of these parts”.

Elaborating on the details of the down Israeli aircraft, the commander further stated that the drone, which is 5.5 meters wide in wings, is equipped with two cameras which can take high-quality photos.

“There was no prior information available about the aircraft and the only one of this type had been downed in Syria, but this one is more advanced,” General Hajizadeh said.

The Elbit Systems Hermes 450 is an Israeli medium size multi-payload UAV, designed for tactical long endurance missions.

It has a flight endurance of over 20 hours, with a primary mission of reconnaissance, surveillance and communications relay.


  • Date: 2014-12-21 20:40:48
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