An Israeli-developed drone defense system successfully intercepted multiple targets and shot them down with a laser beam, aerospace company Rafael said Wednesday.
Rafael’s Drone Dome C-UAS was also able to track and hit small drones that were maneuvering in flight, a more challenging target.
“The system achieved 100% success in all test scenarios,” Rafael said in a statement.
Drome Dome provides “effective detection, full identification and neutralization of multiple Micro and Mini UAV threats,”it said.
In a video of the tests, a vehicle-mounted system was shown engaging the targets, including drones that were sharply changing direction. In one test, three drones flying in formation were shot down in succession.
“Drone Dome is designed to address threats posed by hostile drones both in military and civilian sites, offering advanced solutions for maneuvering forces and military facilities, critical border protection, as well as civilian targets such as airports, public facilities, or any other sites that might be vulnerable to the increasing threat of both terror and criminal drones,” the company said.
Previous reports have said that in addition to melting drones with its laser for a “hard kill,” Drone Dome has sophisticated electronic systems that enable operators to interfere with the signals of a hostile drone and even take control of the device, bringing it to ground in a “soft kill” interception.
In 2018 the British Daily Mail newspaper reported that the British military used Drone Dome to ground an intruding unmanned aerial vehicle that shuttered the airfield at London’s Gatwick Airport for over 36 hours, stranding tens of thousands of passengers.
Six of the Refael systems were sold to the UK Ministry of Defense in an estimated $20 million deal, according to Israel’s Globes financial daily.
Later reports said Drone Dome was not used at Gatwick, as the system had not yet been delivered to the UK military.
In December 2019 Israeli security forces revealed details about another new laser system they hope will help quash the scourge of airborne incendiary devices launched from the Gaza Strip — carried by balloons, kites and drones — which have started countless fires and burned large swaths of Israeli land since they began being widely used nearly two years ago.
The system, dubbed Light Blade, is intended to shoot the threats out of the sky before they can enter Israeli territory. It was developed for police and the Israel Defense Forces by three engineers from the private sector who worked with Ben Gurion University researchers and technological departments of the Israel Police and IDF.