How Israel and the US are taking Iran’s drone threat seriously.
It’s not a coincidence that the head of US Central Command has been warning about drone threats and that the US and Israel are increasingly working on efforts to confront drones.
A readout of US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan’s bilateral meeting with Israeli National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat on April 27 revealed that the “United States and Israel agreed to establish an inter-agency working group to focus particular attention on the growing threat of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and Precision Guided Missiles produced by Iran and provided to its proxies in the Middle East Region.”
The decision to try to counter UAVs or drones has been in the works for years. Back in 2018, Congress first authorized a cooperative US-Israeli Counter Unmanned Aerial Systems Program.
CENTCOM HEAD General Kenneth McKenzie has become a kind of prophet of counter-drone discussions because he keeps warning about the growing threat. In March, he spoke to the Senate Armed Services Committee. Sen. Tom Cotton noted that while the US had spent “billions” on counter-drone technology, there was still a threat. McKenzie had in fact already warned in writing that drones are “the most concerning tactical development in the CENTCOM area of operations since the rise of the Improvised Explosive Device.”
The work between the US and Israel on this issue is important because the rise of Iranian drone threats is increasingly bedeviling US partners in the region. Tehran knows this and keeps unveiling more and more drones.
Iran has a seemingly endless amount of drones these days; it used them against Saudi Arabia in 2019 and also sent a drone from Syria’s T-4 base into Israeli airspace in February 2018. On April 28, the IDF said that it had “downed a drone and located an additional drone belonging to the Hezbollah terror organization that crossed from Lebanon into Israeli airspace.”