July 20, 2012:
During the second week of July, Israel held the first "Top Drone" competition for its three UAV squadrons. This is partly a training and evaluation exercise but also for increasing morale by determining who is best at typical combat operations. UAV operators are normally worked very hard, keeping tabs on numerous terrorist activities (especially Gaza, the Sinai Peninsula, and southern Lebanon) as well as more distant threats. The competition is meant to find out which operators are the top performers and give the best troops some recognition.
The competition events cover a large number of activities. This involves tests for the UAV operators as well as the sensor operators. The judges introduced weather and communications difficulties, to seek how well operators coped. There were also targets to be found, and tracked, in difficult circumstances (forests, urban areas). UAV operators also were given difficult navigation assignment, sometimes with the GPS disabled.