Training for the next phase of unmanned threats

Unarmed, unmanned air systems launched from Lebanon have entered Israeli airspace a few times in recent years – and intelligence shows this will soon pose a greater threat.

It also shows terror organisations in that country – but not only that country – have grasped the potential of using UAS to hit targets in Israel, or just harass its air defences.

The UAS were intercepted by fighters, but the encounters were between vey basic UAS and top-of-the-line fighter aircraft. However, this may be set to change very soon.

In recent months, the Israeli air force (IAF) initiated a series of training exercises designed to train aircrew members in the best way to intercept UAS before they cause damage.

Earlier this month another exercise was performed, based on all the available data about the evolving threat.

The crews trained to handle a variety of the most advanced UAS – including some they had never seen before. “We trained for a different type of UAS – it’s more advanced, faster and spends more time in the air than ordinary UAS, and so it poses a new challenge for the aircrews,” Capt Avi, ground security officer at the IAF’s Ramon air base, told the IAF website.

The UAS interceptors were joined by their partners in the mission – the air traffic controllers. The ground crews were equipped in recent months with special sensors designed to improve the detection of even the smallest UAS.

“The training exercise for this specific topic is designed as a preventative measure,” explains Capt Avi. “This is a threat that is steadily getting worse, and so the IAF is not closing its eyes and ignoring it, but is preparing for emergencies.”

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