Israeli Air Force now Flying More Unmanned than Manned Sorties


The Israel Air Force, battling manpower shortages and budget restraints, has been building a fleet based on unmanned aircraft systems.

Officials said the Air Force has been rapidly building a UAS fleet at the expense of manned aircraft. They said the Air Force has reached a point in which more than 50 percent of flights were conducted by UAS as part of reconnaissance and other missions.

“In recent years, there have been more UAS than manned sorties in the Israel Air Force,” [Res.] Brigadier General Ophir Shoham, Director of the Defense Ministry’s Research and Development Directorate, said.

Officials said Israel has been developing UAS for a range of missions. They said the platforms have saved on fuel, pilot training, maintenance while achieving a greater level of stealth.

“Within a few years there will be a number of operational missions of a known character that we will be able to carry out with a small number of unmanned devices,” Shoham told the Israeli daily Haaretz.