Did Israel Hack Unmanned Helicopter that Entered their Airspace?

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.

5 thoughts on “Did Israel Hack Unmanned Helicopter that Entered their Airspace?”

  1. If the israeli realy could have had control over the UAV, why they didn´t force it to land on their territories instead of shutting down? And if the IDF was capable of intercepting and analysing the controlling signal, why they couldn´t determine/trace the take-off-/ sender-origin: Gaza stripes, south Lebanon or Iran(ian ship)?

    1. Hi Mashmax,

      From the Debka Files report they fought over control of the UAV, probably using some sort of signal spoofing. And as they immediately started doing flyovers of South Lebanon (see link in above article), it was pretty clear that they knew where it was launched from.

      Thanks for the comment!

  2. although most of designers dont say about the flaws they talk about advantages to show they are intelligent enough to overcome everything
    look at the document i recommend
    drones like RQ-170 & bunker buster is amazing doll like many other technologies around but in a different view there are many laws to defeat them all and there are also passive methods that makes air strikes inefficient in different ways as below:
    -Bomb fuses path deflection to increase failure rate and stop direct penetration
    -Bomb capture (spider mesh technique)
    -Electronic warfare technique (jamming, faraday cage…)
    -Anti aircraft mine (aerial balloon bombs)
    -Improvised shelter (UHPC , high density concrete , dashpot bridge with reactive armor & multi-layer bunkers containing materials with different density)
    read more here:

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