Israeli Air Force deploys Spark UAV in operations against Hamas in Gaza

By Arie Egozi

The Israeli Air Force (IAF) has commenced operations with its latest Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) in ongoing actions against the Hamas organization in Gaza. Israeli sources have described the UAV as a significant asset, contributing notably to efforts aimed at dismantling the extensive network of tunnels under Gaza, known as "metro city," utilized by Hamas for attacks against the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) in the northern Gaza Strip.

 

Named the Nizoz (Spark), this UAV is under the command of the IAF’s 144th Squadron, also referred to as the Phoenix Squadron, operating out of Hatzor Air Force Base.

The Spark UAV, a versatile asset designed for various tasks including intelligence gathering, support for ground forces, and targeting, is part of the Orbiter model family. This family of UAVs is produced by Aeronautics, an Israeli company owned by Rafael. The specific roles and capabilities of the Spark extend to classified operations, underlining its strategic importance in the IAF’s operations.

 

 

The integration of the Spark UAV aligns with the IAF’s “Storm Clouds” program, which focuses on the incorporation of advanced autonomous systems. These systems are designed to enhance rapid sensor-to-shooter sequences and increase precision in various operational contexts. The Spark’s capabilities are tailored to meet operational scenarios projected for the next 10-15 years, many of which remain highly classified.

 

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In addition to the Spark, the Hermes 450, produced by Elbit Systems, is another UAV extensively used over Gaza. Equipped with various classified weapon systems, the Hermes 450 is employed for real-time strikes on Hamas targets, including groups preparing to launch rockets into Israel. Since the beginning of the conflict on October 7, this UAV has been instrumental in targeting numerous Hamas operatives en route to concealed rocket launch sites, including those positioned in urban areas and high-rise buildings.

 

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