Although no official plan has been made, the Israel Defense Force (IDF) has expressed interest in obtaining a fleet of “suicide drones” developed by weapons manufacturer Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), reports Haaretz. An IAI executive publicized the interest, which was confirmed by a military source.
The drone is an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), equipped with cameras and/or explosives and designed to dive towards a target and explode as needed. It can also land and be reused if desired. Such drones can provide low-cost air support for ground troops when manned aircraft are not present.
The current model which the IDF is considering is the Rotem, a Hebrew acronym for “attack and suicide drone”. A single unit can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Several have already been sold to foreign armies, though IAI would not specify which countries had purchased the UAVs.
The Rotem is small enough that two can be carried by a single soldier in his pack. It can be made to hover silently over a target designated by a command entered on a tablet computer, or ordered to drop grenades on the target. It can alternatively be equipped with a camera to designate an automatic flight path, returning with the press of a “back” button.
The Rotem, which was revealed to reporters on Sunday during a tour, joins earlier models HAROP and HARPY, both a cross between aircraft and missile. “The aircraft sees its target, homes in on it and also destroys it,” the IAI executive told reporters.
When asked about accusations that a HAROP drone was used earlier this month by the Azeri army in an attack on an Armenian convoy in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh, the executive refused to comment. Azerbaijan, Israel and India are currently said to employ the unmanned vehicles.
The Biblical King David was known as a warrior king, who, like the IDF, is praised for his tactics and achievements in battle. Through it all, however, King David never lost sight of the real source of his success: God’s help.