Israeli airborne laser system successfully completes first-ever interception tests
The High-Power Laser system was installed on an aircraft and successfully intercepted and destroyed UAVs
Udi Etsion | 18:27 21.06.2021
The Directorate of Defense R&D in the Israel Ministry of Defense (MoD) announced on Monday that together with Elbit Systems and the Israel Air Force it managed to successfully intercept several UAVs using an airborne High-Power Laser Weapon System (HPL-WS). The UAVs were intercepted at various ranges and flight altitudes. There are currently several laser systems under development in Israel that are intended to intercept a variety of threats, including unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and rocket, artillery and mortar (RAM) attacks. These systems include a ground-based laser system to complement the capabilities of Israel’s existing anti missile system Iron Dome; a maneuverable system that could be mounted on a vehicle to defend soldiers on the battlefield; and an aircraft-mounted system.
Israel is among the first countries in the world to achieve and demonstrate such capabilities employing an airborne, High-Power Laser system. This method of airborne interception has many 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 airborne, High-Power Laser System will complement Israel's multi-tier missile defense array, which include the Iron Dome, David's Sling and Arrow missile interceptor systems. Israel has offered the U.S. to cooperate with it on the project and is also in talks with defense corporations in additional countries regarding a potential collaboration. "We successfully intercepted several UAVs in the air, within a range of more than 1km," said Head of Research and Development in the DDR&D, Brig. Gen. Yaniv Rotem. "This is a groundbreaking technological achievement and it is critical for further development of our airborne High-Power Laser System." General Manager of Elbit Systems ISTAR, Oren Sabag: "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."