Several news agencies have been giving Israel some grief over the interception of an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle or UAV that penetrated it’s airspace on October 6th. Many are wondering why the UAV was not intercepted as it crossed the Mediterranean Sea, but instead was allowed to linger for an additional half hour before the Israeli Air Force shot it down. One possible solution is that Israel had hacked into the UAV and had partial control.
Israel was one of the first countries to use Drones. Early models were simple R/C planes with cameras attached. The technology has jumped leaps and bounds since then, with the US even using Stealth Drones like the RQ-170. An RQ-170 made headlines news when one crashed in Iran from mechanical failure, even though Iran claimed that it was downed via cyber attack.
According to reports an Iranian made unmanned helicopter took off from Lebanon and flew what appeared to be a reconnaissance mission over Israel:
“The drone was apparently launched by Iran or one of its allies to test the IDF’s detection and interception capabilities, and perhaps even to search for specific targets in south Israel. The drone apparently began its flight in Lebanon and then headed in the direction of Gaza’s coastline after flying over the Mediterranean Sea. This route was chosen not only because it utilized the depth of the sea’s airspace, but also because Israeli UAVs regularly hover above Gaza.”
The UAV was tracked and then downed when it was over a forest (in case it contained explosives) by a pair of Israel F-16 fighter jets using Israeli made Python air-to-air missiles.
So as it would seem an Iranian UAV, possible Hezbollah backed, flew into Israel airspace and was shot down. But this may not be the whole story. According to Debkafiles an Israeli cyber warfare unit wrestled with foreign operators over control of the drone:
“Debkafile’s military sources report exclusively that for 30 minutes, as the helicopter flew over southern Israel, control swung back and forth between Israeli cyber operators and unknown agents.
The battle was finally resolved by an Israel decision to scramble four F-16 fighters to shoot the trespasser down, the while Israeli cyber experts tried to identify its satellite controller.”
Very interesting indeed. If they could gain partial control, then maybe they could also intercept and track the controlling signal. And if Israel’s recent military maneuvers over South Lebanon are any indication, it would seem that the drone did in fact come from Lebanon.