Providing intelligence photographs, locating uninvolved individuals and cooperating with ground forces
The UAVs are in the air 24 hours a day
“We’re on higher alert now. Even if there’s a Code Red alarm during a flight, we go on”
At any given moment, Heron UAVs roam the skies. Aside from gathering intelligence information, UAV operators aid in preventing civilian casualties and prepare to escort infantry corps on their way below
Shir Aharon Bram
Major Roy, a reserve duty operator, didn’t wait for the call telling him to report at his UAV squadron. As soon as Operation “Pillar of Defense” began, he grabbed his things, drove quickly to the “First UAV Squadron” and entered the control trailer. “It was very obvious”, he states. “We work around the clock with no rest whatsoever”.
The role of UAVs in battle has only increased throughout the years. And so, it is no surprise that the Heron aircraft of the IAF are a critical component of Operation Pillar of Defense, roaming the air constantly and gathering intelligence information from around Gaza Strip. “We’re at a combat level of readiness”, says Major Shay, deputy commander of the “First UAV Squadron”. “Even if there is a “Color Red” warning alarm during a flight, we continue our mission. We feel that we have been able to get our job done in the best possible way, and that’s why we are here.”
Preparing for Ground Assistance
Aside from intelligence operations, the Heron UAV has many clandestine missions. One of the most popular and important missions of the UAV operators is to prevent hits on civilians. “We have to make sure that the targeted area has no innocent civilians surrounding it”, emphasizes Major Shay. “Even after the mission itself we go back and examine the outcome”.
In addition, people of the squadron–which permanently escorts infantries from above–are prepared for the ground activity around Gaza. Squadron and infantry representatives are cooperating in preparation for the moment when the Heron travels above infantry forces. They all share one goal: Combining forces and producing a triumphant cooperation.