International demand for Israeli drones is booming, with Israel Aerospace Industries now counting 49 nations and regions among its customers. Eighty percent of the drones manufactured in Israel are exported.
Video courtesy of jn1.tv
Israel has been a pioneer in drone development, and according to some analysts the country's successful use of drones in the 1982 Lebanon War marked the first time any country used remote-controlled aircraft in a conflict. Proponents say drones are the wave of Israel’s military future.
According to Daniel Nisman, an intelligence expert at Max Security Systems, "As long as there's a human controlling these things, they may as well be in the cockpit or they can be in the edit desk.
"If you are entering a village with a troop contingent, a drone hovering overhead can pinpoint the areas where there are combatants and can pinpoint the areas where there are civilians, and simply help to make sure that these casualties are lessened."
But earlier this week, the Israel Air Force shot down one of the country’s most advanced drones, Shoval (or Heron), over the Mediterranean because of a "technical malfunction," causing loss of communications and control with the ground.
Anti-Israel media claimed the Hezbollah group had hijacked the $10 million drone, without providing evidence.
Earlier this month, Israel scrambled fighter jets to shoot down a Hezbollah remotely-controlled aircraft over the Mediterranean Sea, because the UAV was approaching Israeli airspace. According to Hezbollah, for the region, drone technology is no longer an Israeli monopoly.