On June 13, an Israeli Hermes 450 was spotted while conducting what appears to be an armed patrol along the separation line with South Lebanon, the main stronghold of Hezbollah.
Ali Shoeib, a reporter of Hezbollah’s al-Manar TV and al-Noor Radio, shared a close up image of the drone that was carrying two large pods under its wing. According to Shoeib, the drone flew over the settlements of Metula and Kfar Giladi for more than three hours.
طائرة تجسس “إسرائيلية” معادية من نوع “هيرمس” تحلق فوق الأراضي المحتلة المحاذية للحدود مع لبنان في أجواء مستعمرتي “المطلة” و “كفرجلعادي” منذ ثلاث ساعات . pic.twitter.com/JygrFAPz9J
— علي شعيب || Ali Shoeib 🇱🇧 (@alishoeib1970) June 13, 2021
The pods appeared to be different in shape from the external fuel tanks usually installed on the Hermes 450LE [Long Endurance] variant. The pods are also larger than electronic warfare and intelligence systems which were spotted before on this type of drone.
A Hermes 450 drone was spotted with similar pods over the Gaza Strip in 2014. Back then, sources told The Aviationist blog that these were “firing pods” for a light missile, most likely the Israeli-made Mikholit.
On March 31 2018, a Hermes 450 drone carrying at least four Mikholit missiles crashed in South Lebanon. The crash confirmed that the drone has combat capabilities.
The Mikholit small diameter guided missile which was designed to be launched from drones is one of Israel’s best kept military secrets. The specifications of the missiles are unknown but most open sources suggest that it is linked to the Israeli Nimrod missile, which is guided with semi-active laser. The missile was used during the last battle in Gaza.
Israeli drones are apparently still conducting armed patrols along the separation line with South Lebanon despite recent threats by Hezbollah. Earlier this year, the Lebanese group fired a missile at an Israeli drone that crossed into Lebanon’s airspace.
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