Israelis who work on their country’s unmanned aircraft programs are shaking their heads at the official Iranian video of a smashed aircraft — said by Iran to be “an Israeli drone, a Hermes model, shot by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).”
The Israelis say: “It doesn’t look like one of ours.”
First, there’s the matter of the maximum flying range for an Israeli-made drone. Natanz — the nuclear enrichment center south of Tehran — is too far away for a drone operating from Israel, if one adds up the flying distance and the reconnaissance time that would be needed over the target.
It is true, as an official Iranian report on that country’s Press TV is suggesting, that Israel could fly recon missions out of a country much closer to Iran. Israel is reliably reported to have a close intelligence relationship with Azerbaijan.
However, David Harari feels that this story doesn’t add up. He is a former head of the drone division at IAI — Israel Aerospace Industries (the former Israel Aircraft Industries, which makes airplanes and more for both civilian and military uses).
Harari headed the drone division from 1977 to 1993 and keeps up with developments.
He says the smashed device seen in the official Iranian video looks like a drone, but a very small one — a “mini drone.” That makes it very unlikely that it’s an Israeli device, he says.
Harari adds that it surely doesn’t look like a Hermes — the model specifically named by the Iranians.
“It’s strange,” he adds, “very strange.”
There are other nations, of course — not only Israel — that would keep an eye on Iran’s nuclear facilities and might want to test the air defenses around them.