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drone IDF Spokesperson

With over 2,000 flight hours, more than 100 flights and dozens of targeted strikes, the RPA array played a valuable part of the IDF’s operational activity during Operation “Breaking Dawn,” the IDF revealed Wednesday. The RPA array operated in a precise manner and significantly decreased the Islamic Jihad terrorist organization and its capabilities.

Remotely Piloted Aircraft have become a dominant factor in the IDF's operational activity in recent years. RPAs gather intelligence, observe the enemy and engage contact. The striking capabilities of the RPA array were recently authorized for publication. These capabilities allowed for the neutralization of terrorist organizations and their operatives in the Gaza Strip.

The RPA array mainly operates in the “Palmachim” Air Force Base, where three out of five of the IAF RPA and “Zik” squadrons are located. An additional RPA squadron is located in the “Tel Nof” Air Force Base, and operates the “Eitan” RPA. Over the past month, a new squadron opened in the “Hatzor” Air Force Base, which operates the “Spark” RPA. The squadron operates as part of the expanding and strengthening IDF RPA array, as well as the effort to collect intelligence and provide support to the maneuvering forces.

The RPA array works in cooperation with the Intelligence Directorate (J2) units and is operated by the fire control centers in different brigades, divisions and commands. The operators maintain the situational assessment for a long duration and are expected to carry out precise and high-quality strikes to prevent harm to uninvolved civilians. The RPA array constitutes about 80% of the IAF's operational flight hours and is an integral part of all operational activity in the IDF.

צה"ל חושף את פעילות הכטמ"מים בעלות השחר

Commanding Officer of “Palmachim” Air Force Base, Brig. Gen. Omri Dror said: "Remotely Piloted Aircraft collect intelligence data 24 hours a day, around the clock. The Southern Command, the Gaza Division, the Israeli Air Force Headquarters, as well as other branches, are all producing quality intelligence data and turning it into targets. Some of these targets were struck by IAF fighter jets in the past few days, and of course by our RPAs, which are an integral part of the IDF’s striking capabilities. The striking capabilities of the RPA array are exceptionally diverse. They are able to locate a single person or rocket launcher and neutralize the target without causing damage to the surrounding area or harming non-combatants. The RPAs also have superb scanning abilities that allow for large-scale strikes, as can be seen recently and in the past few years. They are also able to perform more extensive strikes with a large payload, while minimizing collateral damage. Part of this success is attributed to the RPA array. More than once we have stopped planned strikes from being carried out in order to prevent harm to uninvolved civilians.”

Chief Artillery Officer, BG Neri Horowitz said: “In the days leading up to Operation ‘Breaking Dawn’, the ‘Zik’ unit operated in the Gaza Strip and prepared for several operational scenarios. When the decision was made to launch a proactive operation, the unit carried out a wide range of field intelligence and striking missions, from neutralizing senior officials, targeting rocket launchers and mortars, to detecting and targeting surface-to-surface rockets and mortars preparing to launch rockets. The ‘Zik’ Unit specializes engaging in contact, exposing the enemy and initiating strikes as part of the IDF’s defensive efforts. The two decade old unit has significantly reinforced many operations over the years and holds an extensive combat history. Since its inception, the unit has been a pillar of multi-branch cooperation in the IDF."

Commander of the 52nd RPA Unit of the Artillery Corps, LTC "M" said: “Unit 52, alongside the rest of the RPA Squadrons in the array, was already a few days into preparations for Operation “Breaking Dawn”. The recent operation allowed us, the unit, to gain a relative advantage through connection with the Gaza Division and the Southern Command for missions aimed to defend the communities surrounding the Gaza Strip. The RPA array specializes in support and striking missions. As a unit of the Ground Forces, the unit operated in coordination during the operation with the Gaza and Southern divisions. We are operating 24/7 to ensure the safety of Israeli civilians living near the Gaza Strip. We will continue to operate to allow for everyone to return to their normal lives."