Israel may have developed an aerial version of the Iron Dome

TEL AVIV, BM, ($1=3.24 shekel) – During the “rocket war” more than a month ago between the Palestinians from Gaza and the Israeli army, which lasted a short time but fired a total of more than 4,000 missiles, Tel Aviv at one point had difficulty shooting down anything flying to Israel.

These difficulties were not dictated by the inability of the Iron Dome to deal with Palestinian missiles, but for another reason: a large number of enemy missiles fired in a short period. This seriously affects the charging time of an Iron Dome battery with new missiles.

Let us remind you of the fact that we wrote about in a previous article – at the beginning of the conflict, the Israeli city of Ashkelon, which is close to Gaza, was attacked with a total of approximately 150 Palestinian missiles and drones. The Israeli ministry acknowledged at the time that in the beginning, their air defense batteries were experiencing difficulties, even having technical problems as they “got into rhythm”.

Despite the serious effects in intercepting and destroying short-range missiles, the Iron Dome may at some point disrupt its perfect functionality and miss a missile or drone, which will cause very great damage. That is why the Israeli Ministry of Defense is trying to develop systems that benefit Israel’s three air defense pillars – the Iron Dome, David’s Sling, and Arrow.

Laser-like no other

The research labs of both the Israeli Air Force and the private company Elbit System have found a cheap way to shoot down enemy drones and missiles to help Israel’s air defenses. This system is an airborne High-Power Laser Weapon System (HPL-WS).

Photo credit: EDR Magazine

The Israeli Ministry of Defense has already confirmed that it conducted tests of this system a few days ago. Moreover, he provided information that he had not allowed himself to give to the public in recent years. Namely – the new laser system is a powerful tool and tests have shown the successful removal of an enemy drone. So successful that the laser-drilled a hole in the hull and wings of the drone.

Certainly, Israel is developing even better electronic countermeasures systems, but with this laser, Tel Aviv is developing a safer option – direct physical damage to a drone. Yes, building electronic boards and other electronics in foreign drones is an effective way to counter them, but no safer than laser destruction.

Israel says it has been working on the project for years. Its success can be guaranteed and it will soon become a real weapon in the Israeli army. The facts just point us in that direction – during the tests, the system handled several drones flying at different heights, which speaks of efficiency equal to that of the Iron Dome. HPL-WS has been tested in various weather conditions and has shown remarkable efficacy. Last but not least, Israel says the system has a massive scope, but still hides the exact characteristics.

Between the lines of Israeli comments?

Several interviews with Israeli media revealed information that the Israeli Ministry of Defense did not provide. For example, Oren Sabag, general manager of Elbit Systems ISTAR, says that the HPL-WS is a “powerful laser” that will intercept enemy missiles in their launch zone. All this means that this system will not have a big operational range.

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A powerful laser also means its short use. At this stage, the HPL-WS is intended for the Israeli Air Force, ie. it can be integrated on fighter jets, helicopters (as tested), or another type of fighter aircraft. This suggests that the “powerful” laser will also need to receive a powerful power supply in the air. Maybe at the next stage, HPL-WS will be developed for ground air defense, and the problem of ensuring the power of the laser will be solved, but there are limitations in the air.

The good news is the value of using it. Brigadier General Yaniv Rotem says the HPL-WS intercepts and destroys an enemy drone or missile at a low cost and effective. The best ratio in trade, not only in the wool industry but everywhere in the world economy. According to the general, this ratio is valid in all other conditions – altitude of the enemy object, its volume, various wind conditions, and others.

Last but not least were the words of Minister Benny Ganz, who said that he “will personally work together with the entire defense establishment to ensure its success.” I.e. despite the first tests, the results were more than impressive. There is probably something that the Israelis do not say and will keep a secret. But in the next two or three years, the HPL-WS can enter service with the Israeli Air Force.


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