Israel’s Kamikaze drones all the rage after proving themselves in 2020 conflict

In February, IAI announced a deal worth $100 million to sell the Harpy drone to the Navy of an unnamed Asian country.

By David Isaac, World Israel News

Israel has made new versions of two of its “suicide drones,” Ynet reports on Tuesday. Over the last years the drones have moved from “boutique ability” to tactical function of ground forces ranging from the brigade to company-level, the report says.

According to the news site, the two drones, the Harpy and the Rotem, have proven themselves in “exceptional ways” in last year’s Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia. The Azeris, who purchased the drones from Israel, saw the benefits while the Armenians felt the sting, the report says.

The Harpy resembles a long-range drone similar to an American Reaper. The Rotem is a quadcopter, closer in appearance to store-bought civilian drones.

In a newer version of the Harpy, called the “mini-Harpy,” the drone’s weight has been brought down to 100 pounds from 300 pounds. It carries a 17-pound explosive. It locks on to its target by signals the target itself sends out, whether cell phones, radars or two-way radios.

“Even when the signal weakens, the ‘mini-Harpy’ detects an enemy based on individual gigas, up to the high-frequency ranges in a wide area,” Israel’s Aerospace Industry (IAI) said.

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The Rotem also boasts a new version, Ynet reports. It can now be carried and launched by an individual soldier. It will hunt down someone on the run or a vehicle trying to flee.

Kamikaze drone

The Rotem drone hits a target and explodes. (Israel Aerospace Industries/Ynet)

“We taught Rotem to stay in the air and as soon as it recognizes an enemy to attack him immediately, in an aerial onslaught at 100 kilometers per hour,” an IAI source said.

The Rotem weighs 14 pounds.

In February, IAI announced a deal worth $100 million to sell the Harpy drone to an Asian Navy. The country was not identified.

It also closed deals for samples of the Rotem to another “foreign country,” which also wasn’t identified.