The Israeli Ministry of Defence (MoD)’s research organization, Mafat, Elbit Systems and the Air Force have completed a series of experiments during which UAVs were intercepted at different ranges and flight altitudes using an aerial laser system installed on an aircraft.
The ability to destroy air threats from the air is an innovative capability with the potential for a strategic change in the air defense capability of the State of Israel, the Israeli MoD announced.
A video released by Elbit Systems shows two UAVs taking off and successfully shot at with a laser beam. The UAV then spirals out of control with its fuselage on fire.
The Israei MoD announced the successful experiment on its Twitter handle accompanied by images of an aircraft carrying the laser module. In one of the images, a laser burns a hole through the fuselage of a drone causing it plunge to the ground.
So far, anti-drone solutions focus on destroying UAVs from the ground using missiles, guns electronic attack weapons. This is perhaps the first such usage of lasers to down drones from the air.
Meanwhile, Elbit Systems also tweeted about the successful employment of the airborne High-power Laser Weapon System. IT intercepted UAVs mid-air, at various ranges and altitudes. making Israel among the first countries to demonstrate this abilty.
Elbit Systems released a video quoting Brig. Gen. Yaniv Rotem, head of Military R & D as saying that this was the first phase of developing an airborne high-power laser system. “We have installed an advanced laser on an aircraft with advanced optics and tracking capabilities and intercepted a number of UAVs within a range of above 1 KM. All the intercepted UAVs fell into the sea.”
“We want to develop a laser system capable of intercepting UAVs, rockets and any other threats to the state of Israel,” he was quoted as saying in the video.