The Israeli Ministry of Defense and Elbit Systems have successfully intercepted several UAVs using an airborne laser weapon during a test flight.
The UAVs were intercepted at various ranges and flight altitudes
Israel’s Defense Minister, Benny Gantz said, “The laser system will add a new layer of protection at greater ranges and in facing a variety of threats – securing the State of Israel while saving the costs of interception. I am confident that Israel’s defense industry will succeed in this important development program, and I will personally work together with the entire defense establishment to ensure its success.”
For the test series a high-power laser weapon system (HPL-WS) was installed on an aircraft and tested in a number of scenarios. It successfully intercepted and destroyed all of the UAVs that were launched throughout the test at different altitudes and ranges.
This tests were conducted in a testing field in the center of Israel, in close cooperation with the IAF (Israeli Air Force). They are the first phase in a multi-year program led by Israel’s Ministry of Defense (MoD) and Elbit Systems to develop a laser system against a variety of long-range threats.
According to Elbit Systems, 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 large areas.
Head of research and development in the Directorate of Defense R&D, Brig. Gen. Yaniv Rotem said, “We successfully intercepted several UAVs in the air, within a range of more than 1km. 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: “The trials were successful thanks to a range of 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.”