Airborne Counter-UAS Laser System Tested

By Mike Ball / 23 Jun 2021
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Airborne laser counter-drone system

The Israel Ministry of Defense’s Directorate of Defense R&D, in conjunction with Elbit Systems, has successfully tested a counter-UAS (unmanned aerial systems) solution based upon an airborne high-power laser weapon system. UAVs were successfully intercepted by the system at various ranges and flight altitudes.

Israel is one of the first countries in the world to achieve and demonstrate counter-drone capabilities with an airborne high-power laser weapon system. This test series is the first phase in a multi-year program led by the Directorate of Defense R&D and Elbit Systems to develop a laser system against a variety of long-range threats.

This method of airborne drone interception has a variety of advantages, including a low cost per interception, the ability to effectively intercept long-range threats at high altitudes regardless of weather conditions, and the ability to defend vast areas. The system will complement Israel’s multi-tier missile defense array, which include the Iron Dome, David’s Sling and Arrow missile interceptor systems, and will increase the effectiveness of air defense against existing and future threats in the region.

Brig. Gen. Yaniv Rotem, Head of Research and Development at the DDR&D, commented: “The Directorate of Defense R&D in the Ministry of Defense, Elbit and the IAF have completed a series of tests employing a powerful, airborne laser system. We successfully intercepted several UAVs in the air, within a range of more than 1km. This is a groundbreaking technological achievement and it is critical for further development of our airborne High-Power Laser System.”

Oren Sabag, General Manager of Elbit Systems ISTAR, said: “We are proud to spearhead the development of this strategic capability together with the Ministry of Defense and the IAF. The trials were successful thanks to a range of unique technological assets. We believe that the use of a high-power laser to carry out low-cost airborne interception of rockets and hostile unmanned aircraft, closer to their launching areas and away from population centers, offers a significant change in Israel’s defense capabilities.”

Watch the video (courtesy of Israel Ministry of Defense).

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Posted by Mike Ball Mike Ball is our resident technical editor here at Unmanned Systems Technology. Combining his passion for teaching, advanced engineering and all things unmanned, Mike keeps a watchful eye over everything related to the unmanned technical sector. With over 10 years’ experience in the unmanned field and a degree in engineering, Mike’s been heading up our technical team here for the last 8 years. Connect & Contact