Rafael Advanced Defense Systems recently tested its Drone Dome anti-UAS system, during which the system identified and intercepted moving targets using a high-power laser beam.
The Drone Dome consists of electronic components and interference sensors to detect, identify and neutralize both micro and mini-UAVs.
The Israeli company carried out a demonstration of the system in a desert area with several types of unmanned aerial vehicles, including four-wheelers available in the market. In this demonstration, a high-power laser beam mounted on a jeep, along with the other sensors of the Dome Drones, detected the threat and allowed the crew to monitor their activity. A swarm of three drones was neutralized using lasers with the result that drones were being eliminated and shot down.
Rafael handled up to seven drones that were destroyed by the laser. Burned impact areas showed their rotors and charred engines.
Swarms of small drones have proven to be a challenge for the advanced military. In 2018, drones closed Gatwick airport in the United Kingdom for about 30 hours. Small drones have also been used by militant organizations, such as the Islamic State group. And more than a dozen drones damaged Saudi Arabia’s oil infrastructure in September 2019.
The Dome Dome is one of Rafael’s numerous air defense systems. It also manufactures the Iron Dome based on land and a naval variant, the C-Dome, as well as the SPYDER, a ground-to-air missile system designed to counteract airplanes, helicopters and UAVs.
Lasers are a key focus of Israel in its attempt to counter threats to its homeland. In August 2019, Hezbollah tried to launch what Israel called “killer drones” near the Golan. A remote control aircraft launched from Syria also entered Israeli airspace in February 2018 and was shot down by an Apache helicopter.
The Ministry of Defense of Israel and the Directorate of Defense Research and Development are designing new laser solutions, and its new multi-year Momentum plan for the Israel Defense Forces provides for greater use of laser technology to stop threats such as drones.