knoweth, and which the
vulture's eye hath not seen
On November 3, 2013, both
Hamas and the IDF announced
that an Israeli Elbit Skylark* drone had been downed. The similarities in the reports
ended at this point. Hamas claimed it had downed the drone, while
the IDF claimed that it sunk into the Mediterranean Sea, creating a
new version of a submarine-drone.
Who lied? Hamas provided footage of the captured drone. Despite its customer list being secret, it is safe to assume that Elbit, the Israeli producer of the drone, didn't sell any of them to Hamas in order to allow the convincing images.
Archetypal Western Reaction
Yet, the unconvincing Israeli reaction had a clear precedent.
On December 5, 2012, the world woke up to the pictures and videos of an American US ScanEagle drone captured by Iran. A spokesman for the US Fifth Fleet based in the Gulf said none of its drones was missing. Shortly after, one of the White House spokesmen said, "There is no evidence" that the Iranian claim was true. Turning around slowly, the camera showed the public. Most reporters were unable to disguise their disbelief.
Of course, the American spokesman wasn't lying, he was using a different definition: Ev·i·dence [noun] 1: False claim made by a government. Amused, Iran's Revolutionary Guards spokesman Brigadier General Ramezan Sharif recommended that the USA recount their drones, adding, "Its capture is not an issue the Americans can easily refute," see Iran Shows Captured Drone; USA Claims "No Evidence".
Usually, a 9100 team is deployed in the relevant spot, providing the data to the headquarters of the unit interested in their surveillance data.
Skylark units operate in a different fashion. Their soldiers become temporary members of the attack force, entering the operation area and handling the tiny aircraft near the target. Thus, the apparition of such an aircraft indicates an imminent ground attack.
The downing of the drone near Kibbutz Nahal Oz indicates that the IDF was about to attack within the Gaza Strip. The attack was cancelled following the capture of the drone.
The IDF has a long history of using aerial vehicles for surveillance.AMAN, Israel Intelligence Directorate, Unit 9100 is closely related to infamous SIGINT 8200, specializing on video gathering at least since the mid 1980's. Its surveillance zeppelins are their trademark. One of them overflew the Nativity Basilica in Bethlehem during the Operation Defensive Wall's siege.
Slowly, the evidence is amounting to a clear picture: the world is successfully struggling against assassin drones. Following the capture of the advanced U.S. RQ-170 Sentinel Stealth Drone by Iran, Deputy Iranian Defense Minister Mohammad Eslami announced on September 2, 2012 Iran has gathered technical information from the U.S. RQ-170 stealth drone it captured On December 4, 2011.
On December 17, 2011, IDF's Intelligence Directorate had credibly announced that Iran had blinded a CIA spy satellite. According to an article in The Christian Science Monitor, Iranians have successively gained access to Chinese jamming technology, allowing them to track unmanned aerial vehicle navigation capabilities. Former US Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton told Fox News last Sunday that such an option is possible. (see Iran Hits American Satellite)
On September 26, 2013, after the brilliant Russian-Syrian diplomatic initiative that put an end to USA's Barbarossa on Syria, President Assad gave a widely publicized interview. He declared "We now possess deterrent weapons that are more important and more sophisticated than chemical weapons, we created chemical weapons in the ’80s as a deterrent against Israel’s nuclear arsenal. Today, it is no longer a weapon of deterrence. We have weapons that are more important and more sophisticated to challenge Israel, which we can blind in an instant." The indirect allusion to the jamming weapon abovementioned is clear.
Yet, it could be an attempt to save the honor. After all, he provided no proofs. Until today, we couldn't know for sure. Hamas used jamming technology to capture the Israeli Skylark and provided a very clear corroboration of its existence.
The asymmetry of the current battlefield doesn't work automatically for the benefit of the richer. Israeli antimissiles had proven rather useless, to the extent that they are being downgraded in the ongoing reorganization+ of the IDF. Pretty soon, generic anti-drones technologies will lead these assassin technologies through a similar path. No more assassin-toys for you, Bibi!