The infiltration of a Hezbollah aircraft into Israeli sovereign airspace Feb. 18 and its return to Lebanon unharmed caused only psychological/public opinion damage to Israel. But it may be that the incident attests to a more serious problem, which is the Israel Defense Force’s (IDF) limited capacity to address the growing threat of unmanned aircraft on that front.
The drone that was sent to Israel last Friday was not especially large, and the route its operators chose — close to the ground — reportedly made it very difficult to locate and take down. Nonetheless, IDF systems managed to identify its approach to Israeli territory and track its flight, at least at the initial stage. When the identification was ascertained, Israeli security forces decided to deploy all possible means to take it down: electronic weapons, fighter planes and an Iron Dome interceptor. To great Israeli disappointment, the drone managed to evade all these means, and after a flight of about a quarter of an hour in Israeli airspace, it returned unharmed to its operators.