Among the 25 cadets who completed the Israeli Air Force’s UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) Operational Training Course on Wednesday at the Palmahim airbase in southern Israel were five female graduates.

The remote-controlled UAVs have been part of the IAF’s arsenal for years now, but are playing an increasingly valuable role in its missions.

The Zik Squadron operates two different aircraft: the “Zik” Hermes 450 and “Kochav” (Hebrew for “star”) Hermes 900. The UAV operator’s course spans six months.

The corps “represents the majority of the air force’s flight time and is an integral part of all operational activity,” said Lieutenant S., one of the women graduates.

Second Lt. Y. said, “Men and women alike make it to the UAV Operational Training Course. Whoever is right for the mission is required to fulfill it, and we [the female operators] know the responsibility is on our soldiers.”

Another graduate, 2nd Lt. N., said, “We operate around the clock, man the stations and make the decisions in real time. All so that the citizens of Israel can sleep at night. There are always eyes in the sky.”

This article first appeared in Israel Hayom.

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