Israel’s Defense Ministry said Monday it has successfully tested an airborne high-power laser that can shoot down drones, technology it hopes to deploy on a larger scale in the coming years.
“For the first time ever, Israel’s Defense Ministry, Elbit Systems and the Israeli Air Force (IAF) have successfully completed a series of interception tests employing an airborne, high-power Laser system,” a Defense Ministry statement said. “Israel is among the first countries in the world to demonstrate such capabilities.”
“During the test, a high power laser system was installed on an aircraft and tested in a number of scenarios. It successfully intercepted and destroyed 100% of the UAVs launched during the test.”
“This is the first phase in a multi-year program to develop an advanced airborne laser system that will add another layer to Israel’s multi-tier defense array, complementing the capabilities of the Iron Dome, David’s Sling and Arrow systems.”
Israel already boasts a large and sophisticated air defense system, which the IDF says had a 90% interception rate against thousands of rockets fired from Gaza during last month’s 11-day war. The laser technology would complement that system.
A prototype, developed with Elbit Systems, was mounted on a civilian plane and successfully shot down several drones in a recent test over the Mediterranean Sea, according to Brig. Gen. Yaniv Rotem, head of military research and development at the Defense Ministry.
“The ability to intercept and destroy threats from the air is groundbreaking,” he told reporters. “Israel is among the first countries to use such capabilities.”
In the recent test, the system shot down drones from within a range of about 1 kilometer (0.6 mile). In the coming years, Israel hopes to deploy a ground-based system with a range of 8-10 kilometers (5-6 miles) that can intercept rockets, mortar rounds and drones.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem & AP)