IDF troops preemptively crashed one of their drones Sunday evening after discovering a malfunction in its systems. The Hermes 450 unmanned aircraft was flying near the Egyptian border when its operators noticed the problem, and decided to crash it into the ground within Israeli territory.
The pieces of the destroyed craft were picked up by Israeli security forces.
The Hermes 450, made by Elbit Systems, is a medium-sized drone designed for reconnaissance and surveillance missions, and can fly for over 20 hours straight. Each drone costs about $2 million.
Earlier Sunday, two masked gunmen fired on Israeli soldiers from across the Egyptian border. No injuries were reported and the gunmen escaped into the Sinai desert in an all-terrain vehicle.
The shooting comes against the backdrop of an uptick in attacks against Egyptian forces in the Sinai, who have been battling to clean out Islamist terrorists from the peninsula.
Sunday’s intentional crash landing was not the first time that Israel has chosen to crash a malfunctioning drone. In May, the military said it intentionally crashed a Heron-1 UAV because of a technical problem. The drone was downed by the air force after its controllers discovered an engine failure during a routine flight over the Mediterranean, off the coast of Netanya.
The IDF’s Spokesman’s Office then said the army shot down the drone, fearing it would crash into a populated area. Local residents reported seeing helicopters searching the area by the light of flares in an effort to locate remains from the crash.
Last year, a larger Heron TP drone crashed on a routine flight.