Israel successfully tests airborne laser weapon


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.”

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About Author


Ben has worked as a journalist and editor, covering technology, engineering and industry for the last 20 years. Initially writing about subjects from nuclear submarines to autonomous cars to future design and manufacturing technologies, he was editor of a leading UK-based engineering magazine before becoming editor of Aerospace Testing in 2017.

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