Israeli security forces revealed on Dec. 26 its new laser system designed to intercept dangerous airborne incendiary devices launched from the Gaza Strip. Carried by drones, balloons, and kites, the aerial devices have and entered its airspace and burned acres of Israeli land over the past two years.
The laser-beam system, named Light Blade, was developed by three private-sector engineers, researchers from Ben Gurion University, and technological departments of the Israel Police and Israel Defense Forces (IDF).
Security forces hope the system will eliminate threats before they enter Israeli territory.
Light Blade is reportedly able to target threats up to two kilometers (1.6 miles) away, according to a Channel 12 News report. The portable system has been designed to operate during the day and at night and can be transported on a small trailer or installed on a truck.
The million-dollar year-long project, led by Border Police Commissioner Maj. Gen. Yaakov Shabtai, has not yet been given an official deploy date, however, system tests have been conducted over the past week. It is expected to be deployed along Israel’s northern border with Lebanon and the border with the Gaza Strip.
Believed to be the first defense system of its kind in the world, Light Blade operates by locking onto a target and firing a unique laser beam. A balloon or a kite carrying improvised explosive and arson devices will be incinerated midair, while drones will be partially burned by the laser until it is knocked from the sky, reported Israel Hayom.
Border Police chief Kobi Shabtai told Channel 12 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.”
The unveiling of the new laser system comes as airborne devices have caused over 2,000 separate fires since March 2018, when the March of Return protests began along the Gaza border fence. The rain of fires have caused the destruction of around 8,500 acres of land, including 3,200 acres of nature reserves and over 2,700 acres of forestry, according to the IDF.
It hopes to offer some relief for Israeli security forces who have long struggled to find a solution to the Palestinians’ method of attack.