Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. Drone Dome system (similar to Iron Dome, but for drones) now has destruction capabilities. Last December, Rafael conducted a trial of the system in southern Israel, in which it demonstrated the Drone Dome system's new attack capabilities against drones and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). A laser cannon capable of destroying drones and UAVS at a distance of kilometers with maximum accuracy, even when they move in squadrons, has now been added to the system's already proven ability to disrupt their communications.
The system was originally designed to destroy or disable drones and UAVs by disrupting their communications with the operators. As the threat of drones and autonomous aircraft has grown, it became necessary to also enable the system to destroy the aircraft.
Drone Dome is part of Rafael's air defense systems, together with Iron Dome, David's Sling, SPYDER, and other systems in Israel's layers-based defense air defense concept.
Rafael announced that its system had "successfully intercepted multiple UAVs and maneuvering targets with a laser. The interception stages included identifying a target, day and night-time monitoring, and finally interception using a powerful laser." The announced added that the system had already been sold to a number of customers around the world, among the UK army.
Drone Dome was designed to protect military and civilian targets, such as airports, public facilities, and strategic infrastructure. Rafael senior marketing manager Meir B. told "Globes," "Development of the laser cannon took two years, and tens of millions of shekels were invested in it." He added that the cost for customers was several million dollars.
Meir B. explained why it was necessary to destroy drones and UAVs, rather than merely disrupt them. He said that the reason was that drones and UAVs were being used in squadrons, rather than an individual drone, and that non-commercial drones were being used. The event in Saudi Arabia, in which oil infrastructure was attacked by a squadron of Iranian drones had made it necessary to prepare for squadrons of drones and non-commercial drones. He commented, "Up until now, all of the companies prepared for drones using specific frequencies, but non-commercial drones operate in a frequency range that differs from the known frequency range, which makes blocking communications irrelevant.
Defense systems like Drone Dome are being developed as part of the defense market's preparations for upcoming large-scale procurement by the IDF and other defense establishment agencies. Today, every defense company has programs for developing drone-related weapons and systems, whether in order to improve the performance and extend the operational capabilities of ground forces on the current or future battlefield, or to identify, neutralize, and intercept drones operated by the enemy.
Last January, a senior defense source estimated the business potential of drones for the defense market in Israel at "tens of millions of dollars a year" "Every defense company is involved in this sector in one way or another. Elbit Systems, Israel Aerospace Industries, Rafael, and of course other companies. The defense companies are being joined by many civilian companies, because entry barriers in this sector are low. The basic technology of these weapons is very accessible and cheap," the source added.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on February 12, 2020
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