Israel’s Border Police deployed a new laser system to intercept incendiary and explosive balloons launched from Gaza near the border on Tuesday.
The Lahav-Or (Light Blade) laser system was developed by researchers at Ben-Gurion University (BGU) of the Negev and is the first defense system of its kind in the world. The system, which utilizes a laser beam used for cutting thick plastic on greenhouses, intercepts the balloons, hopefully while still within the Gaza Strip but if not, will intercept or locate them within Israel.
After the system pinpoints a balloon or kite, it fires a laser beam, incinerating it midair. It can also fire laser beams at drones, burning part of it until it malfunctions and crashes.
The system was developed by Prof. Amiel Ishaaya, a laser expert and deputy dean at the BGU Faculty of Engineering Sciences, and two of his associates, Dr. Udi Ben-Ami and Dr. Rami Aharoni, as part of their new company, OptiDefense, with the support and funding of Border Police Chief Commander Maj.-Gen. Yaakov (Kobi) Shabtai.
A trial of the system downed 90% of airborne incendiary and explosive-laden devices, kites and balloons launched by Hamas from the Gaza Strip.
Ishaaya and his associates are currently working on a new version of the system just for drones, a Eurekalert report said. “In order to operate most high-powered laser defense systems, the airspace needs to be cleared for many kilometers, so the laser does not accidentally blind anyone,” said Ishaaya.
“Our technology uses a relatively low-power ‘eye-safe’ laser so airports, for example, could install our systems around the facility to provide complete coverage without endangering pilots or passengers or local populations.”
In the last day alone, more than 60 fires broke out in southern Israel as a result of incendiary & explosive devices, attached to balloons, which were sent by Hamas from #Gaza with only one goal – to cause harm and damage.
— Israel Foreign Ministry (@IsraelMFA) August 12, 2020
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)