An Israeli company is preparing to test unmanned aerial vehicles (UAs) on a remote, barren mountain in the Negev Desert.
The UAVs, which are expected to cost between $200,000 and $300,000 each, will be mounted on trucks that can move about 15 meters, according to the Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) website.
The company is in talks with the government about a possible deployment.
A number of other companies, including Israel Aerospace, are also working on UAV-like technologies, according a statement from IAI.
It is unclear whether the technology is being developed by IAI or whether it is being made by another Israeli company.
The drone test is the first step in an Israeli effort to test out UAV technology on a test site in the country’s southern Negeg desert.
Last week, Israeli officials announced that the country would begin using drones in combat operations, with the intention of eventually deploying the technology in the Gaza Strip.
“Our goal is to start an operational test within a year or two, so that by 2020, the Israeli Air Force will be able to deploy UAV in combat situations,” Air Force Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, the head of Israel’s Civil Defense Force, said in the announcement.
The test is being held at a site in central Israel, where Israel is testing the capability of drones to conduct airstrikes on suspected rocket sites in Gaza.
“In order to achieve this, we need to take advantage of the advantages that UAV have in the current operational environment, such as the speed, accuracy and mobility of the UAV,” Mordechau said.
“At the same time, we also have to make sure that we make sure the technology we are using is able to perform effectively on a variety of types of terrain, including deserts and mountainous terrain, he added.
The announcement follows a similar one from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in December, announcing that the Air Force was planning to use drones in Gaza as part of its ongoing ground operations.
The prime minister also said the military was considering building a drone base at the northern Israeli town of Kiryat Malachi, where thousands of Israeli soldiers live.
The drones are capable of delivering bombs, but also can carry other types of payloads, such a thermal imaging camera, thermal imaging satellite, or thermal imaging radar. “
We are currently testing unmanned aerial devices (UAD) in areas that have not yet been explored, but we are also testing them in the north of Israel in the upcoming months,” Mordecai said.
The drones are capable of delivering bombs, but also can carry other types of payloads, such a thermal imaging camera, thermal imaging satellite, or thermal imaging radar.
The IAI test site is located near the town of Beit Lahiya, which was captured by the militant group Hamas in 2014.
According to the Israeli military, Beit Ha’ir is a major crossing point between Gaza and Israel.
IAI, the countrys largest private UAV company, said it had received a total of about $150 million in funding from the government to develop the UAD technology.
The Israeli government said in December that the drones would be deployed in support of the Iron Dome air defense system, which has intercepted hundreds of rockets fired at Israel in recent years.
“The drone project is part of our broader strategic efforts to expand the range of air defense and ground operations in the Israeli airspace, as well as to reduce the threat posed by terrorist groups,” the military said in a statement.