Hezbollah claims to have brought down Israel's 'best UAV in the world'
Israel's Hermes 450 UAV flew in December 2020. Photo: Israeli Air Force

The Hezbollah group said it shot down the Israeli Hermes 450 UAV, a model called “the best in the world,” in southern Lebanon.

“Islamic Resistance members downed an enemy drone (UAV) on the evening of April 21 in the sky of Al Aishiyeh region in southern Lebanon,” the Hezbollah force announced on Telegram.

The armed group later revealed that this was an Israeli Hermes-450 series UAV, adding that it was shot down while on a combat mission.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said on the same day that a UAV of this country fell into Lebanese territory due to being hit by an anti-aircraft missile but did not mention the name of the aircraft or the projectile. “Israeli fighter jets attacked the missile launch site. The Air Force will continue to operate in the sky over Lebanon to carry out the mission,” the IDF announced.

Hermes 450 is a multi-purpose high-performance tactical UAV model developed by Israeli defense corporation Elbit Systems. It has been used by the country’s military in the role of intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance (ISTAR) for more than a decade.

The aircraft has a length of 6.1 meters, a wingspan of 10.5 meters, a flight ceiling of 5,500 meters, and operates continuously for 17 hours. It has a maximum speed of 176 km/h, but usually only cruises at 130 km/h. The Hermes-450 load is 180 kg, and it can carry 4 Spike missiles with a range of 50 km. Each unit costs about two million USD.

Hermes 450 is the foundation for Israel to develop a number of other UAV models such as the Watchkeeper WK450 and Hermes 900 series. The aircraft is currently operated in more than 20 countries, accumulating about 300,000 flight hours.

Chris Lincoln-Jones, a former British Army major, once described the Hermes 450 as “the best UAV model in the world” when he saw it in action in practice.

This is the second Hermes-450 and the third Israeli UAV that Hezbollah claims to have shot down since the conflict broke out in the Gaza Strip in October 2023.

The armed group currently raids Israeli territory almost daily to show support for Hamas, Hezbollah’s ally in the Iran-backed “resistance axis” against Tel Aviv and the West. The Israeli army also regularly attacks Hezbollah in response.

Clashes between the two sides left 363 people dead in Lebanon, most of them Hezbollah members, but also including at least 70 civilians. Israel said 10 of its soldiers and 8 civilians died after raids by armed groups.

The latest clash between Israel and Hezbollah took place in the context of tension in the Middle East after Israel was said to have attacked Iran, albeit only to a limited extent, in response to Tehran’s attack on its territory. This is April 13. Iran carried out the attack in retaliation for its embassy in Syria being hit by a rocket earlier this month.

On April 14, Hezbollah praised Iran for its “courageous decision” to attack Israeli territory, adding that Tehran had achieved its military goals.