Israel to launch massive aerial reconnaissance balloon in the north

As Israel continues to work to significantly increase its air defenses, the defense establishment has begun launching an advanced air surveillance balloon in the north of the country to provide additional early warning capabilities against air threats.

After years of development and manufacturing, the Israel Missile Defense Organization (IMDO) in the Defense Research and Development Directorate of the Israel Defense Ministry “began initial inflation operations” of the balloon, the Defense Ministry said. it’s a statement.

The High Availability Aerostat System (HAAS), developed by the American company TCOM that specializes in aerostat surveillance solutions, is one of the largest in the world and is designed to carry an enhanced detection system to provide detection and warnings early threats of advanced threats.

“In several flight test campaigns carried out in recent months, we have demonstrated the outstanding capabilities of Israel’s multi-tiered missile defense, including against cruise missiles,” said IMDO Director Moshe Patel. “IMDO and MDA, along with the IAF and defense industries, are constantly improving Israel’s threat detection capabilities. This aerostat system will navigate at high altitudes and provide exceptional multi-directional detection capabilities against advanced threats. “

IMDO, the Israel Air Force and ELTA, a subsidiary of IAI and prime contractor for the ES program, began initial inflation operations in recent days at facilities established by the Ministry of Defense in the north of the country.

The ES system is comprised of HAAS and advanced radar designed to detect incoming threats at great distances when operating at high altitudes.

“It will provide additional detection and early warning capabilities to the existing operational air defense detection array deployed in Israel,” the statement read.

Israel’s air defenses include the Iron Dome, designed to shoot down short-range rockets and drones, the Arrow system that intercepts ballistic missiles outside of Earth’s atmosphere, and David’s Sling anti-missile defense system is designed to intercept tactical ballistic missiles. , medium to long term. -scale rockets, as well as cruise missiles fired at distances of between 40 and 300 km.

Israel will launch a massive aerial reconnaissance balloon in the north (credit: MINISTRY OF DEFENSE)

Israel also has Patriot missile batteries stationed in the north of the country and has used them to intercept drones that infiltrate Israeli airspace from Syria. During fighting with the Gaza Strip in May, the IAF 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 to have a full and permanent defensive umbrella in northern Israel with plans to expand it nationally. The IAF currently has several fixed air defense systems that are complemented by mobile batteries.

Commander of the Israeli Air Force, Major General. Amikam Norkin said that “the IAF has both defensive and offensive systems to defend the State of Israel and its sovereignty.”

“The ES system will be an important component in strengthening our capabilities to defend the country’s borders against a variety of threats and will allow us to build a more accurate and comprehensive aerial surveillance image,” he said.

This new radar system was developed under a cooperative program between IMDO and the United States Missile Defense Agency (MDA).

“The elevated sensor is another great example of cooperation between the Missile Defense Agency, IMDO and industry partners. Jointly developed technology and research are a benefit to both nations. Furthermore, this system will further enhance Israel’s advanced threat detection capabilities to maintain Israel’s qualitative military advantage, ”said MDA Director Vice Admiral Jon Hill.

“The ES system provides a significant technological and operational advantage for early and accurate threat detection,” said IAI President and CEO Boaz Levy, adding that “this technology increases the reliability of the aerial surveillance image and increases efficiency against a variety of targets. “

Last month, Defense Minister Benny Gantz revealed the location of an Iranian air base that he said was used to train Tehran’s regional representatives to operate advanced drones like the one shot down in May.

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

According to Gantz, terrorist operatives from those countries are being trained to fly Iranian UAVs at the base outside the city of Esfahan “which is the cornerstone of Iranian air terrorism in the region.”

Iranian drones can reach a range of 1,700 kilometers and their strikes have targeted assets belonging to the United States, Saudi Arabia, Israel, as well as Sunni organizations in Syria and Iraq.

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