The number of operational missions being performed by the Israeli air force's manned reconnaissance aircraft is on the rise, despite an increase in the number of unmanned air vehicles performing similar missions.

Two squadrons equipped with intelligence-gathering Beechcraft King Air 200s operate from Sde-Dov air base.

According to the Israeli air force website, aircraft of the service's "First" squadron alone accumulated 6,000 flight hours in 2015.

"This is a direct result of the amount of enemies that the Israeli defence forces deal with today," says the unit's commander – identified only as Lt Col H. "As our enemies and threats multiply over the years, the amount of missions and sectors from which we have to bring an aerial intelligence situation report grow accordingly," he adds.

Payloads carried by the twin-turboprop type are also being upgraded continuously, and the squadrons regularly perform combined missions with UAVs and helicopters equipped with other advanced sensors.

Over the last few years, the air force has developed capabilities to combine inputs from a large number of optical sources into one unified picture, which allows personnel in the air, on the ground and at sea, to react immediately to fast-developing situations.