Israel unveils laser system designed to intercept incendiary balloons, drones

The Israel Police on Thursday unveiled a new laser system designed to intercept airborne incendiary threats sent from the Gaza Strip. According to Channel 12 News, while the system is operational a deploy date was not immediately given.

Dubbed Light Blade, the system is said to resemble the Iron Dome defense system in its technology. It will tackle incendiary balloons and kites, which have started countless fires in the southern border vicinity communities over the past two summers, as well as drones.

Light Blade is said to be the first defense system of its kind in the world.

The Light Blade system (Photo: Israel Police)

The terrorist arson campaign, launched in late ‎‎‎‎‎April 2018, ‎has decimated nearly 10,000 acres of ‎‎‎‎forest ‎‎and farmlands on the Israeli side of the ‎‎‎‎border. ‎‎Incendiary kites and balloons have caused ‎‎‎millions ‎‎of dollars in damage to the area over the ‎‎‎past seven ‎‎months and environmental experts ‎say it ‎‎‎will take at ‎‎least 15 years to rehabilitate ‎the ‎‎‎vegetation and ‎‎wildlife that have been destroyed.‎

Light Blade was developed by three civilian engineers working with Ben-Gurion University researchers and the technology branches of the Israel Police and IDF. The project, led by Border Police Commissioner Maj. Gen. Yaakov Shabtai, was a year in the making.

According to available details, the laser is capable of engaging targets with an effective range of 2 kilometers (1.2 miles), day or night.

A drone hit by the Light Blade system (Screenshot: Channel 12 News)

Once the system locks onto its target it fires a unique laser beam at it. If the target is a balloon or a kite, it incinerates it midair. If the target is a drone, the laser burns parts of it until it is shot down.

Shabtai said that Light Blade “provides a near conclusive response to everything relating to balloons and kites, and delivers a safe and effective solution to the drone threat.”