IDF said to look at buying Israeli small attack drones

IDF said to look at buying Israeli small attack drones

Rotem UAV can be carried by one person and easily flown by remote control through windows and doorways

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

The IDF is mulling the purchase of a new type of small drone that can hover in the area of a target and then dive down to destroy it with an explosive.

During a press event in which the Israel Aerospace Industries showed off some of its unmanned products, an IAI executive said the military is interested in its Rotem drone, the Haaretz daily reported on Sunday.

The drone can carry a pair of grenades as a warhead or a camera for reconnaissance.

Designed as a tactical system to be carried into battle by troops on the ground, the four-rotor drone folds down into a compact size, enabling one soldier to carry two in a backpack. The battery-powered device, controlled by a tablet computer, can be quickly set up and deployed. Its small size allows it to fly in through the windows or doorways of buildings. It can also hover in an area until ready to attack and then dive down onto a target.

The attack can be aborted at any time by the controller and the drone instructed to return to its starting point.

A military source confirmed to Haaretz the interest, but noted there is no plan yet to buy any of the drones, which cost tens of thousands of dollars apiece.

According to a February report on the Defense Update website, the Rotem weighs just 4.5 kilograms and carries sensors enabling operation during the day and night. It can hover in a target area for up to 30 minutes and can carry a 0.45-kilo warhead.

Demonstration of a soldier setting up the Israel Aerospace Industries multi-rotor Rotem attack drone. (YouTube/Defense Update)
Demonstration of a soldier setting up the Israel Aerospace Industries multi-rotor Rotem attack drone. (YouTube/Defense Update)

The IAI executive, who was not named in the report, was quoted as saying that other armies have already bought the drone, although he did not specify which. The executive also declined to comment on a claim last week by that the Azerbaijani army had used an Israeli-made attack drone to target an Armenian convoy during recent clashes in the Nagorno-Karabakh region.

A press spokesman for Armenia’s defense ministry said on his Facebook page that the Azerbaijani army was using the Israeli Harop drone. The Harop is small enough to be able to skirt enemy aircraft detection systems and can find targets by radar or radio wave, as well as by remote piloting.

Sue Surkes contributed to this report.

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