Israel Grounds Drone Fleet After Two Crash in West Bank

Three Sky Rider drones have already crashed in 2017, all as a result of technical failures

File photo: An Israeli soldier holds up a Skylark I unmanned drone as part of a demonstration for then-Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon, Zeelim, southern Israel, 2013.

Israel has grounded its Sky Rider military drones after two of them crashed in the West Bank on Monday. The two drones have been recovered by Israeli forces in the areas of Hebron and Bethlehem, and the military is looking into the cause of crashes.

Three such drone crashes have already occured this year.

Two Sky Rider drones crashed in July, one in the Gaza Strip, the second in the West Bank, while in March, another Sky Rider drone crashed in Syria. In all incidents, technical failures have been to blame for the crashes.

The Sky Rider is a small drone operated by a unit in the artillery corps. Its function is to provide commanders in the field with intelligence updates. It includes a camera, and is not considered to be technologically advanced.

The drone, which weighs seven kilograms, is programed as such that if it crashes and loses contact, the information contained within it is automatically erased.