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Hezbollah Shoots Down Another $6 Mln Israeli Hermes Drone Over Southern Lebanon

© Photo : social mediaAn Israeli Hermes drone falls from the skies after being struck by a Hezbollah surface-to-air missile over southern Lebanon. Screenshot of social media video.
An Israeli Hermes drone falls from the skies after being struck by a Hezbollah surface-to-air missile over southern Lebanon. Screenshot of social media video. - Sputnik International, 1920, 01.06.2024
The Lebanese militia and political movement has engaged Israel in a campaign of border skirmishes following the escalation of the Palestinian-Israeli crisis last October, but has sought to avoid a full-scale conflict to prevent a heavy-handed Israeli response targeting Lebanese cities like the one seen during the 2006 Lebanon War.
Hezbollah has shot down its second Hermes 900 unmanned aerial vehicle amid the ongoing sporadic clashes with the Israel Defense Force along the Lebanese-Israeli border.
Militia affiliated media said Saturday that the UAV was downed using a surface-to-air missile over the southern Lebanese town of Deir Kifa, about 70 km south of Beirut.
The IDF acknowledged that the drone had been lost.
Footage posted to social media showed the $5-6 million apiece UAV spewing flaming wreckage as it plummeted toward the ground.
Saturday’s incident was the second time Hezbollah brought a Hermes 900 this year, with another destroyed over southern Lebanon on April 6. Israeli media speculated that that drone had been brought down by a Saqr-358 missile, an air defense system which has also been spotted in the arsenals of Iraq’s Islamic Resistance and Yemen’s Houthi militia.

The Hermes 900 was developed by Israeli defense giant Elbit Systems, introduced into service with the IDF in 2012, and have since been exported to nearly a dozen countries. Along with intelligence gathering, communications, and electronic warfare missions, the drones can engage in combat using Spike anti-tank and anti-personnel missiles. The drones feature a 15-meter wingspan, and have a maximum takeoff weight of about 1.18 tons. They’re operated by the Israeli Air Force’s Squadron 166.

Hezbollah shot down another Elbit Systems drone – the $2 million apiece Hermes 450, over southern Lebanon in late February, with one of its SAMs evading an Israeli David’s Sling missile fired to try to intercept the projectile.
Separately in February, Hezbollah reported hijacking and seizing an Elbit Skylark-series miniaturized 45-kg surveillance drone "in good condition." This drone's price ranges from $200,000-$1.5 million each, depending on configuration.
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Elbit Systems reported record profits and bumps in stock prices this year amid the ongoing war in Gaza, posting Q1 2024 revenues of $1.55 billion after raking in $6 billion in 2023.
The Elbit 900 drone’s shootdown Saturday came a day after Hezbollah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said in a television address that the group has a ‘doctrinal, ethical and religious responsibility’ to dismantle the “Zionist regime” and would continue its fight in support of the Palestinians.
Hezbollah-Israel skirmishes have forced the IDF to maintain a sizable force on its northern border and away from Gaza. Each size has claimed anywhere from dozens to hundreds or even thousands of troops and fighters killed or injured. At least 89 Lebanese civilians, 15 civilians in nearby Syria, and 10 Israeli civilians have been killed in the fighting, with nearly 200,000 civilians displaced from the conflict zone.
Hezbollah’s demonstration of its air defense capabilities appear to serve as another setback for Western powers’ drone capabilities, and come amid growing US military UAV casualties in Yemen, where the Houthi militia has now destroyed at least nine MQ-9 Reaper drones, and dozens of other US and European-made reconnaissance and strike UAVs.
An F/A-18E Super Hornet taxis on the US navy's super carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) (Ike). File photo. - Sputnik International, 1920, 25.05.2024
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