Army says drone crashes in central Israel

Related: Israel’s Weapons a Crime on Humanity

Maan News Agency | Jan 29, 2012

TEL AVIV, Israel (Ma’an) — Israeli military authorities say an unmanned aerial drone crashed on Sunday in central Israel.

The crash occurred near Moshav Yesodot during a joint Air Force and Israel Aerospace Industries drill, Israel’s Ynet news site reported.

According to Ynet, the Eitan drone is scheduled to begin operational activity soon and possibly be deployed in countries such as Sudan and Iran.

US-based blogger Richard Silverstein reported on his website that the crash was caused by a “booby-trapped drone” which exploded at a secret airbase in Sdot Micha.

Sdot Micha, he says, is the home of a missile arsenal including the long-range Jerichos capable of striking Iran. He called the army’s version a “cover story” necessitated by the presence of eyewitnesses.

A reconnaissance drone crashed in the Gaza Strip in late 2010. It was recovered in an army incursion into the territory.

In 2007, a smaller Israeli drone crashed in Gaza, and the Al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, seized it.

Source and more at Maan News Agency

According to YNet (Jan 29, 2012)

Eitan – Israel’s largest drone (Photo: Reuters)

An Eitan-type Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, Israel’s largest drone, crashed near Moshav Yesodot on Sunday. No injuries were reported.

The scale of damage has yet to be determined. Army forces arrived at the scene and will examine what parts can be salvaged.

The crash occurred during a joint Air Force and Israel Aerospace Industries drill. A joint team has been set up to investigate the circumstances behind the accident.

“I was sitting at the office and suddenly heard a blast,” says Hezi Eisen who lives nearby. “My initial thought was it was one of the crop dusters or a military aircraft from an IDF airfield.”

Eisen added, “It was a pretty loud blast.”

The Eitan drone is scheduled to begin operational activity soon. It has been reported that it will also provide coverage for such countries as Sudan and Iran. It has also been reported that France is interested in acquiring several such drones from Israel’s Aerospace Industries.

Weighing five tons, Eitan is 14 meters long and has 26 meter-long wings. It is able to fly for 20 hours straight at a maximum speed of 143 Knots and reach a maximum altitude of 41,000 feet.

Eitan is meant to be utilized in complex intelligence gathering missions. It has already been dubbed “the most advanced UAV in the world.”

In 2007, a UAV crashed near Beit Hanoun following a technical malfunction.

The IDF’s use of drones has become widespread due to its abilities to provide quality video images at any given time. Its small size makes it less likely to be hit by an enemy and it is also cheaper to operate than a manned aircraft.

Aviel Magnezi contributed to this report (end quote)

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