TEL AVIV (Oct. 8)
A pilotless Israeli plane disappeared while on a photo reconnaissance mission over Syria and is presumed to have been shot down, Gen. David Ivri, Commander of the Israel Air Force, announced yesterday. He identified the aircraft as an American-made subsonic drone of the Firebee type which has been employed in intelligence gathering since before the Yom Kippur War.
Ivri said the drone was investigating reports of a major escalation of Syrian air strength and anti-aircraft defenses when contact was last some 25 miles inside Syria, above the site of the Syrian air base at Homs. He said its exact fate was not known but it was probably downed by the Syrians. The drone was flying alone. There was no indication when the reported less occurred.
Meanwhile, the right-wing Phalangist radio in Beirut reported yesterday that the Syrians have installed radar equipment along the Lebanese coast to augment their early warning system against Israeli air or ###ral attacks.