Women’s Skylark Drone IDF Unit

The women of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Artillery Corps have been working in all-female teams to use tiny Skylark drones in tracking senior Hamas officials in Gaza and gathering intelligence in readiness for potential war, Israeli media reported this week.

The information gathered by the drones is also used to block Hamas from carrying out cross-border raids and building tunnels into Israel.

The Skylarks are Israel’s smallest drones, weighing just 7 kilos. They have been updated to accommodate female soldiers with a catapult based launching mechanism instead of the cable-based system. The drones’ small size enables them to relay a live feed from a low altitude of about 500-600 meters without being seen, and they can also fly at night and in cloudy weather. Also operated by male drone units, they have been used on all of Israel’s enemy fronts.

Female Skylark drone units operating on the Gaza border will launch a drone when, for example, a Hamas vehicle is observed to be getting close to the border. The drones may then follow the suspected vehicle for hours. They will also follow suspicious vehicles arriving at Hamas homes and monitor Hamas command centers.

Since the equality amendment to the Military Service law was passed in 2000, women are able to serve in any role in the IDF, on an equal basis with men. Currently 92 percent of IDF positions are open to women – and there is no shortage of female soldiers wanting to serve in combat roles. There are now three mixed gender battalions: Caracal, Lions of the Jordan and Cheetah (Bardelas).

Whether through monitoring the enemy, gathering critical intelligence or joining a combat unit, women are playing a pivotal role on the front lines in Israel’s defense.