Israeli Air Force F-35 Downs Iranian Drone in First Kill
Israeli Air Force F-35 fighters struck two Iranian drones en route to Palestine last year, the air force revealed on Monday.
An Israeli electronic warfare system reportedly neutralized the third drone.
An interception of Shahad 197 unmanned aerial systems occurred outside Israeli airspace, “in coordination with neighboring countries,” The Times of Israel wrote quoting the Israeli military.
The identity of the assisting countries has not been revealed.
Last year, Israeli "Adir" (F-35I) fighter jets successfully intercepted two Iranian UAVs launched towards Israeli territory. pic.twitter.com/FQsEjKzxct
— Israeli Air Force (@IAFsite) March 7, 2022
The Israeli Air Force stated that the drones were carrying weapons for Hamas and that it was the fifth-generation Lockheed Martin aircraft’s first kill, four years after the air force first deployed the plane in a combat role.
According to the Israel Defense Force, the incident involved a pair of aircraft each from Squadron 116 and 140 to intercept drones on their way to Judea, Samaria, and the Gaza Strip.
Four Aircraft Involved
A Squadron 116 commander said, “We took a pair of planes out of the squadron across the country’s borders, located the vessel, identified it, and understood that it was an enemy vessel – a UAV made in Iran.”
“We got permission to bring him [it] down, and we did it in a matter of seconds,” he added.
“It happened relatively simultaneously in two different places — a pair from Squadron 116 and a pair from Squadron 140.”
Previous Iranian Drone Intercept
The revelation comes months after Israeli defense minister Benny Gantz said that an Israeli Apache helicopter struck down an Iranian Shahed 141 unmanned aerial vehicle inside Israeli airspace in 2018.
He added that the drone was launched by “Iranian emissaries in Syria,” and was carrying TNT for Palestinian militants in the West Bank, accusing the country “of transferring weaponry to its proxies for use in terror attacks.”