Israeli intelligence identified and neutralized an Iranian “Yasir” Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) that was violating the country’s air space in the Golan Heights, Israel’s Channel 2 news reports. The drone was shot down by a MIM-104 Patriot surface-to-air missile (SAM) system.
The Yasir drone is manufactured by state-run Iran Aviation Industries Organization (IAIO) and took its first flight in September of 2013. According to in-house specifications, the Yasir can fly as high as 15,000 feet and can stay in the air for eight hours with an operational radius of approximately 125 miles.
The drone was reportedly crossing the skies near Quneitra, Syria, which has been a battleground between Islamist entities and forces loyal to Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, and making its way into Israel’s territory.
Defense Minister said the IDF’s response was “admirable” and added that Israel had a zero-tolerance policy when it came to “intentional or unintentional” fire coming out of the Golan Heights.
IDF Spokesperson Peter Lerner said of the incident, “Our sense is that it wasn’t the intention to attack Israel,” but the drone was instead providing air cover for Iranian-proxy group Hezbollah in its fight against Sunni forces in Syria.
Last week, Iran claimed that it had shot down an Israeli drone in their airspace. However, some experts now believe that Iran had staged the incident, and instead decided to shoot down one of their own drones in a mock-display of power and security.
In December, 2011, an American RQ-170 Sentinel drone reportedly crashed in the northeastern part of Iran. Iranian officials claimed that their cyber unit had took over the drone and safely landed it, but the claims were met with much skepticism. Iran also announced that it had reverse engineered the captured drone, but most experts casted doubt on Iran’s ability to successfully recreate the sophisticated technology.