In the past few years, bomb-carrying balloons and fire-setting kites have been fired from the Gaza Strip into neighbouring Israel, according tomedia reports. Now, a new system can shoot them down using lasers — and even against drones. It is understood the system, called light blade, was developed by a team led by Professor Amiel Ishaaya of Ben-Gurion University in Negev.
For now, OptiDefense is commercializing it.
Blade of Light uses an eye-safe laser that has been used by farmers in the area to cut the plastic of greenhouse windows. In the example of the “Blade of Light”, the laser beam is tightly focused on a point in the balloon or kite and then uses concentrated energy to quickly burn the material.
Due to the relatively low power of the unfocused laser beam, the system can also meet safety requirements for use in places such as the airport, without the need to empty airspace when using it. In contrast, when using anti-drone systems with high-power lasers, aircraft usually have to be unable to enter the area in order to minimize the risk of accidental blindness by pilots.
In a recent pairing with the SupervisIR threat detection system of Elbit, an Israeli defense electronics company, the Blade of Light was able to shoot down 90 percent of the balloons and kites launched from Gaza into Israel, and could support them for miles.
Ishaaya and his colleagues are now considering applying the technology to automated drones, which would involve enhancing tracking systems and laser power.