Israel to Launch Giant Missile-Detecting Balloon to Counter Iranian Drones

Israel has started launching a giant new balloon equipped with advanced aerial surveillance aimed at detecting missiles in the north of the country, the Defense Ministry said Wednesday.
Image courtesy Israel Missile Defense Organization

Israel has started launching a giant new balloon equipped with advanced aerial surveillance aimed at detecting missiles in the north of the country, the Defense Ministry said Wednesday.

Initial inflation operations of the radar-based balloon has begun by the Israel Missile Defense Organization (IMDO), the ministry said in a statement, and comes in response to increasing hostile airborne presence Iranian drones and cruise missiles.

The High Availability Aerostat System (HAAS), developed by Israel’s Missile Defense Organization and the United States’ Missile Defense Agency and dubbed “Sky Dew,” is one of the largest in the world and will detect early threats, the ministry said.

“The elevated sensor system provides a significant technological and operational advantage for early and precise threat detection,” said Boaz Levy, CEO of the Israel Aerospace Industries.

“This technology increases the reliability of the aerial surveillance picture, and increases efficiency against a range of targets,” he said.

Tasnim News/AFP | Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards display a "suicide drone" capable of delivering explosives to blow up targets at sea and on land, in Tehran on October 26, 2016

Tasnim News/AFP | Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards display a “suicide drone” capable of delivering explosives to blow up targets at sea and on land, in Tehran on October 26, 2016

In a picture obtained from Iran's ISNA news agency on July 3, 2012, shows AN Iranian short-range missile (Fateh) launched during the second day of military exercises, codenamed Great Prophet-7, for Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards at an undisclosed location in Iran's Kavir Desert. AFP PHOTO/ISNA/ARASH KHAMOUSHI =AFP IS USING PICTURES FROM ALTERNATIVE SOURCES AS IT WAS NOT AUTHORISED TO COVER THIS EVENT, THEREFORE IT IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY DIGITAL ALTERATIONS TO THE PICTURE'S EDITORIAL CONTENT, DATE AND LOCATION WHICH CANNOT BE INDEPENDENTLY VERIFIED == (Photo credit should read ARASH KHAMOUSHI/AFP/GettyImages)

AN Iranian short-range missile (Fateh) launched during the second day of military exercises, codenamed Great Prophet-7, for Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards at an undisclosed location in Iran’s Kavir Desert. (ARASH KHAMOUSHI/AFP/GettyImages)

IMDO Director Moshe Patel said the aerostat demonstrates “the outstanding capabilities of Israel’s multi-tier missile defense, including against cruise missiles.”

“The IMDO and MDA, 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, multi-directional detection capability against advanced threats.”

Israeli Air Force chief Amikam Norkin said the system will “enable us to build a more accurate and broader air surveillance picture.”

“The IAF has both the defensive and offensive systems to defend the State of Israel and its sovereignty,” he added.

Director of the American Missile Defense Agency Vice Admiral Jon Hill said the aerostat would help maintain Israel’s “qualitative military edge” in the region.

In this photo released on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021, by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, missiles are launched in a drill in Iran. Iran's paramilitary Revolutionary Guard forces on Friday held a military exercise involving ballistic missiles and drones in the country's central desert, state TV reported, amid heightened tensions over Tehran's nuclear program and a U.S. pressure campaign against the Islamic Republic. (Iranian Revolutionary Guard/Sepahnews via AP)

In this photo released on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021, by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, missiles are launched in a drill in Iran. (Iranian Revolutionary Guard/Sepahnews via AP)

The system is designed to counter, among other things, UAV attacks that are part of what Defense Minister Benny Gantz has called Iran’s “emissary terrorism.”

“Iran has created ‘emissary terrorism’ under the auspices of organized terror armies that help it achieve its economic, political, and military goals. Iran is trying to transfer its knowledge that will enable Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon. Also in the Gaza Strip, to produce advanced UAVs,” he said.

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