Israel grounds Heron drone surveillance aircraft fleet after malfunction
The Israeli army's Heron unmanned drone aircraft for surveillance missions flies during a 2007 display at the Palmahim Air Force Base, Israel. Israel's military has grounded a fleet of long-distance surveillance drones after a malfunction occurred in one over the Mediterranean Sea. (AP / Ariel Schalit)
Published Sunday, May 12, 2013 12:58PM EDT
JERUSALEM -- Israel's military has grounded a fleet of high altitude surveillance drones after one was downed over the Mediterranean Sea.
The military says it intentionally crashed the unmanned aircraft late Saturday because of a malfunction.
The military would not say how many aircraft were grounded. The planes will stay down during an investigation.
An Israeli defence official said the drone was the Israeli-made Heron 1, which flies at high altitudes and can stay in the air for about 45 hours. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief reporters.
Last year, a larger Heron TP drone crashed on a routine flight.
Israel is a world leader in drone technology. Palestinians say Israel uses drones to fire missiles, but Israel does not confirm that.