In a recent celebratory ceremony held at the Air Force base in Hatzor, near Be'er Sheva, the IDF's 144th Squadron welcomed a cutting-edge remote manned aircraft known as the "Nitsoz." This event marks a significant milestone in the squadron's transformation into a UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) squadron, signifying the ever-evolving capabilities of the Israeli military.
Established in 1972, Squadron 144 initially operated as a fighter squadron in the Israeli Air Force, utilizing fighter planes like the 'Nesher,' 'Kfir,' and 'Hawk.' However, in 2022, it underwent a remarkable transition, shifting its focus to unmanned aircraft. The IDF expressed its anticipation of the "Nitsoz" bringing about a substantial enhancement in the operational effectiveness of its fighting forces in both offensive and defensive operations.
Major General Tomer Bar, the commander of the Air Force, articulated his excitement during the ceremony, stating, "This is an exhilarating day where we ascend to a new echelon. A day when the squadron expands its fleet with more aircraft and military personnel, supported by outstanding service members. A day when the 'Storm Clouds' project, which started as a vision, transforms into a remarkable reality. The journey of the squadron has been long, from its redirection about a year ago to the acquisition of these aircraft today."
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The squadron's commanding officer, an unnamed IDF Lieutenant Colonel, echoed the sentiment of celebration, emphasizing the significance of this event not only for the IDF and the Air Force but particularly for the 144th Squadron. He remarked, "Today marks a holiday for the IDF, the Air Force, and the 144th Squadron in particular. It is a day when we take possession of the Nitsoz aircraft, which will serve as the cornerstone of an innovative and boundary-pushing arsenal, destined to reshape the balance of power on future battlefields. The aircraft you see before you represents an exceptional achievement, blending innovation, creativity, and the satisfaction of accomplishing something unparalleled. Our adversaries lie on the opposite side."
The new aircraft within the 144th Squadron's inventory boasts a "MicroLite ISR" electro-optical missile system, specially adapted from the Rafael company to integrate seamlessly with the "Orbiter." Notably, this aircraft features relatively compact dimensions, rendering it significantly less detectable and easier to intercept compared to other tools with comparable capabilities, which are typically much larger in size.
אתמול התקיים טקס קבלת כטמ"ם (כלי-טיס מאויש מרחוק) ה״ניצוץ״ בטייסת 144 ("עוף החול") שבבסיס חצור. בחודש אוגוסט 2022 שינתה טייסת 144 (״עוף החול״) את פניה, כשנפתחה מחדש כטייסת כטמ"ם.— Israeli Air Force (@IAFsite) September 11, 2023
אתמול נקלט ה״ניצוץ״ בטייסת באופן רשמי. pic.twitter.com/iCOLsjwtG7
Furthermore, the system incorporates advanced software that facilitates precise target identification, including detailed analysis of field movements. The volume of information generated is substantial, necessitating the development of a dedicated onboard electronics unit responsible for performing all computational operations on the aircraft itself, enabling seamless communication with information users