On March 31, an Israeli drone crashed in southern Lebanon as a result of a “technical failure”, according to the Israeli Army. Experts were able to identify the drone as the Hermes 450 medium size multi-payload Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) manufactured by the Israeli Elbit Systems company.
Unexpectedly, the Hermes 450 UAV remains in the crash site revealed that it had been armed with at least four projectiles. Israel don’t acknowledge that Hermes 450 is an armed UAV and its officials have refused to confirm the use of armed UAVs on many occasions before.
This is not the first time experts come across an evidence that proves the Israelis are operating armed UAVs. A report by the UK Government Communications Headquarters, which was leaked by the American whistleblower Edward Snowden, revealed that some Israeli UAVs are indeed armed. A video from the report even showed an Israeli Heron TP UAV carrying a “missile shaped object”, according to the Intercept.
After a close look, experts were also able to identify the projectiles, that were carried by the Hermes 450, as an Israeli-made small diameter guided missile known as “Mikholit”. The specifications of the missiles are unknown but most open sources suggest that it is linked to the Israeli-made Nimrod missile, that’s guided with semi-active laser.
The Mikholit missile was first spotted during the Gaza Strip 2014 war. The Israeli Air Force (IAF) reportedly used the missile to target individuals of the Palestinian Hamas Movement in urban areas indicating the missile’s high accuracy.
In September 2015, the Mikholit missile made a second, more surprising appearance, this time in the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula. The ISIS-linked news agency Amaq released a video showing a Mikholit missile that had been used to target ISIS fighters there.
Following the incident, several Israel news outlets reported that the IAF had carried out several airstrikes using armed UAVs against the Palestinian elements of ISIS in the Sinai Peninsula.
And now for the first time ever we know that Israel is also operating armed UAVs over Lebanon, although the situation there is very stable currently. This suggests that Israel may be also operating such amed UAVs over other countries, mainly Syria.