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Air Force says IAI Heron 1 drone ‘gradually’ returning to service

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

Illustrative: An IAI Heron 1 is seen flying off Israel's coast in early August 2022. (Israel Defense Forces)
Illustrative: An IAI Heron 1 is seen flying off Israel's coast in early August 2022. (Israel Defense Forces)

The Israeli Air Force says it is “gradually” returning a fleet of armed drones to service after one aircraft was damaged during takeoff yesterday.

An initial probe of the incident found that what caused the IAI Heron 1 drone to be damaged was not a “widespread technical problem in the fleet,” the IAF says.

IAF chief Maj. Gen. Tomer Bar orders a “gradual return of the fleet to activity, while performing required preparatory actions,” a statement says.

A military source says the craft that was damaged during the incident was taken to be repaired.

The Heron 1 has seen several crashes due to various malfunctions in recent years. In November, a Heron 1 crashed near the southern city of Arad, causing a fire and leading to the grounding of the entire fleet for a month, until repairs were made to a faulty flight control component that had apparently caused the crash.

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