Israel tests airborne high-power laser to take down drones

For the first time ever, the Israel Ministry of Defense (MoD), together with Elbit Systems and the IAF, has successfully completed a series of interception tests employing an airborne, High-Power Laser Weapon System (HPL-WS). 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 that were launched during the test. The ability to intercept and destroy airborne threats in the air is groundbreaking and offers a strategic change in the air defense capabilities of the State of Israel.

The airborne laser managed to shoot down several drones at the height of 900 meters and within a range of more than 1km. Once perfected, it will be able to intercept targets within a radius of 20 km, Rotem said in a videoconference.

Developed by the Ministry of Defense and Israeli company Elbit Systems, the system uses airborne army detection techniques and then drives a 100-kilowatt laser toward the target.

The airborne interception method 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 increase the effectiveness of air defense against existing and future threats in the region.

We are proud to spearhead the development of this strategic capability together with the Ministry of Defense and the IAF,said Oren Sabag, General Manager of Elbit Systems ISTAR. “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.

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