An IDF's Skylark drone that crashed in Syria on Sunday likely went down due to human error made by the Artillery Corps troops who were flying it, according to initial findings from the army's investigation into the incident.
The investigation, carried out by the Ground Forces and Northern Command, also found that the complex nature of the activity the drone was performing led to its eventual crash.
"The drone wasn't shot down, it crashed," a senior IDF officer told Ynet. "There is no concern of an information leak as the aircraft itself does not keep classified information (in its memory banks). The little technical information the drone contained was immediately erased (upon crashing)."
Hezbollah released photos of a drone late Monday with stickers in Hebrew, identifying it as an IDF Artillery Corps drone manufactured by Elbit Systems.
This is the third time a Skylark drone, the smallest among the drones the IDF uses, crashes in enemy territory. A week ago, a drone crashed in Gaza. In January, an IDF Skylark drone crashed in Lebanon.
The Artillery Corps' Skylark drone unit operates alongside other battalions both in times of war and in times of peace to provide a live and quick visual of the situation on the ground for the battalion and brigade commanders. This helps troops in capturing wanted suspects in the West Bank, or when fighting in Gaza or Lebanon.
"About three years ago, we increased the unit's operational activity a great deal in light of its capabilities, operational successes and the great demand for its work," the IDF officer explained.
"Most of the malfunctions that caused the drones to crash were technical. In the new version of the system, which we introduced about six months ago, we greatly reduced the communication problems that caused some of the malfunctions and crashes," he continued.
"When we purchased the Skylark, our initial expectations were for malfunction that causes a crash once every 200 hours of flight. In reality, it happened once every 400 to 500 hours. We, of course, are hoping to improve that too, but this is a relatively small and cheap drone."