Just days after Lebanon-based Hizbullah terrorists boasted of sending an Iranian drone to spy on Israel, the Jewish State unveiled its new and improved UAV, the "Shoval." The unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) is produced by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and is being used in sea surveillance by the Israeli Air Force and Navy.
The announcement came exactly one week and a day following a brazen infiltration into Israeli air space by an Iranian-made drone sent by Hizbullah. The drone, which came from the north, flew nearly the entire length of the country over the Mediterranean Sea. It was "escorted" by F-16 fighter jets that were scrambled to intercept the UAV as it traveled along the coastline before turning east over southern Israel, where it was shot down over an uninhabited area in the northern Negev.
There has been some speculation that IDF computer geeks also redirected the enemy UAV's GPS system in order to prevent the drone from a possible flight path over the Dimona nuclear reactor site.
Hizbullah's drone infiltration into Israel “amounts to a declaration of war,” worried former Lebanese Prime Minister Siniora warned this week. Former Prime Minister Sa’ad Hariri also said he fears the drone incident could drag Lebanon into a war with Israel, the Beirut Daily Star reported.
Israel's new Shoval UAV, introduced to media on Sunday, comes as an upgrade to a previous drone which had only one surveillance camera. The new version has four cameras that are able to provide quicker and clearer identification of other vehicles and objects from a distance of dozens of miles away. It also carries radar that can identify an enemy within a 300 kilometer range – reaching as far as Egypt, Turkey or Cyprus – and uses satellite communications to send footage of what it sees to remote locations.
"This capability allows it to operate during bad weather, in which case it will fly under cloud height and will not be affected by the rain," an IDF official told reporters. One of its most useful – and defensive – enhancements is its ability to intercept threats within moments.
The Shoval has already been purchased and incorporated into the military forces of 30 countries, including the United States and Canada.