An Israeli high-powered laser drone. (Ministry of Defense Spokesperson’s Office) Ministry of Defense Spokesperson’s Office
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Game-changer: High-Power Laser Weapon System significantly expands Israeli missile defenses.

By United With Israel Staff

In a new breakthrough, an Israeli-made airborne laser system successfully intercepted a number of aerial drones, in what the Defense Ministry called a “game-changing” development.

The system, referred to simply as the High-Power Laser Weapon System and installed on a small airplane, downed all the unmanned aerial vehicles it faced at various ranges and altitudes.

The HPL-WS was developed by the Ministry of Defense’s research and development directorate together with Elbit Systems and the Israeli Air Force.

“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 vast areas,” the ministry said in a statement.

Lasers are capable unlimited firings, cost less per intercept, require less manpower and operational resources, and leave no debris. However, lasers can only strike targets in their line of sight, which explains the airborne system’s significance.

It provides a far greater range of defense than do ground-based lasers, complementing Israel’s already existing and evolving three-tiered missile defense system.

The first tier of Israel’s missile defense, the better-known Iron Dome, protects Israel from short-range threats such as rockets fired by Gaza terror groups.

The second tier, David’s Sling, is designed to intercept medium range threats, such as the medium and long-range rockets in Hezbollah’s arsenal, enemy planes and cruise missiles.

The third tier, Arrow, was developed to intercept ballistic missiles flying in space.

Celebrating the successful test, Defense Minister Benny Gantz told the laser’s development team, “Today you have brought us closer to yet another important milestone in the development of the multi-tier defense array of the State of Israel, and it is significant both in terms of cost-effectiveness and defense capabilities. 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.”