The Israeli air force has released video footage of a Lockheed Martin F-16I fighter shooting down an unmanned air vehicle that entered the nation’s airspace on 6 October.
Efforts are being made to identify the UAV, the wreckage of which came down in the northern Negev area of southern Israel. Sources say it was probably unarmed.
A first assessment is that the aircraft came from Lebanon and was flown over the Mediterranean Sea before passing over Gaza and entering Israeli airspace.
“The UAV was located before invading Israeli territory and was followed by airplanes throughout its course before the decision to intercept,” the air force says.
Video of the incident shows the slow-moving unmanned aircraft being engaged from short-range using an air-to-air missile. The weapon scores a direct hit, with a fighter passing close above the UAV’s falling wreckage almost immediately afterwards.
In 2006, the Israeli air force shot down an Iranian-made Ababil UAV that was being operated by Hezbollah militants during fighting on the Lebanese border. The unmanned aircraft was shot down by an F-16, with its debris falling into the Mediterranean.
Since a similar occurrence in November 2004, the air force has introduced additional sensors that have improved its ability to detect UAVs trying to enter national airspace.