Jun. 8, 2018
Israeli Drones Have Downed over 500 Palestinian Arson-Kites and Balloons – Judah Ari Gross (Times of Israel)
Using drones, soldiers and hobbyists pressed into service have downed over 500 fire kites and balloons launched by Palestinians in Gaza toward Israel over the past 10 weeks, Col. Nadav Livne, head of the IDF Ground Forces’ research and development branch, said Thursday.
4,500 acres of agricultural fields, forests and grasslands have been burned, causing over $1.4 million in damage, officials said. “It’s not a game, it’s a war,” Livne said.
Methods deemed successful involve ramming small, hardy drones with razor blades attached to them into the kites or balloons or using a larger drone outfitted with a claw to catch the balloon or kite in midair and bring it to the ground.
The drones are all “robust” and can be used “again and again,” he said.
One drone pilot used a large controller and virtual reality goggles to steer the drone.
He is a major in the Israeli Navy, but was a long-time drone hobbyist and was brought in to help. He said he’d personally brought down 150 kites and balloons.
Many of the current operators of the small “razor drones” were also long-time hobbyists, pressed into service as reservists in the Combat Engineering Corps.