Israel’s air force is using unmanned air vehicles in a variety of missions, the number of which is continuously increasing. Many of the flights are performed in conjunction with manned aircraft, including fighters, helicopters and intelligence-gathering assets. This situation requires very clear operational procedures, to enable the performance of sometimes very complicated missions using the mix of types.

One senior air force officer tells Flightglobal that such combined missions are based mainly on procedures, adding that “technology is less important in this mode of operation”.

The air force’s procedures are especially crucial when the mixed fleets are in operation over hostile territory. One example was its “Protective Edge” missions flown over the Gaza Strip in mid-2014, when a record number of flights were performed, in a bid to suppress the launch of rockets into Israeli territory. […]