Israel to Place Aerial Reconnaissance Balloon in North
As Israel continues to work toward significantly bolstering its air defenses, an advanced aerial surveillance balloon has been raised high in the sky in the North to provide additional early warning capabilities against aerial threats.
Following years of development and manufacturing, the Israel Missile Defense Organization (IMDO) at the Directorate of Defense R&D of the Defense Ministry has “begun initial inflation operations” of the balloon, the ministry said in a statement.
The High Availability Aerostat System (HAAS) developed by the American company TCOM, which specializes in aerostat surveillance solutions, is one of the largest in the world and is designed to carry an improved sensor system to provide detection and early warning of advanced threats.
“In several flight tests conducted in recent months, we have demonstrated the outstanding capabilities of Israel’s multi-tier missile defense, including against cruise missiles,” said IMDO director Moshe Patel.
“The IMDO and MDA [Missile Defense Agency of the US Defense Department], together with the IAF and defense industries, are constantly improving Israel’s threat detection capabilities. This aerostat system will hover at high altitudes and provide exceptional, multidirectional detection capability against advanced threats.”
The Elevated Sensor (ES) system consists of the HAAS and an advanced radar, designed to detect incoming threats at long ranges when operating at high altitudes, which “will provide additional detection and early warning capabilities to the existing operational air defense detection array deployed around Israel,” the statement read.
Israel’s air defenses include the Iron Dome, designed to shoot down short-range rockets and drones; the Arrow system, which intercepts ballistic missiles outside of the Earth’s atmosphere; and the David’s Sling missile defense system which is designed to intercept tactical ballistic missiles, medium- to long-range rockets and cruise missiles fired at ranges of 40 km. to 300 km.
Israel also has Patriot missile batteries stationed in the North and has used them to intercept drones infiltrating into Israeli airspace from Syria. During the Gaza war in May, the Israel Air Force shot down an Iranian-made drone that had flown into Israeli airspace near the northern city of Beit She’an.
The IAF is also working toward implementing a full, permanent defensive umbrella in the North, with plans to expand throughout the entire country. Currently, there are several fixed air defense systems that are supplemented by mobile batteries. (JPost / VFI News)
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