THE ORBITER UAV.
In an effort to bolster its defenses in face of Hamas and Hizbullah’s growing
anti-ship capabilities, the Israel Navy is testing a new missile defense system
for its small and fast patrol boats that are tasked with enforcing the blockade
on the Gaza Strip and Lebanon during wartime.
The navy’s patrol ships
include the Super Dvora, built by Israel Aerospace Industries and the Shaldag,
manufactured at Israel Shipyards. The new defense system includes a radar, which
detects and tracks incoming missiles, and uses an electronic warfare system to
jam its signal and divert it from its course. It is under development by MAFAT,
the Defense Ministry’s Research and Development Directorate.
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Israel’s larger missile ships have been equipped with defense systems such as
the Barak 1 missile interceptor as well as a rapid fire cannon called
During the Second Lebanon War in 2006, the INS Hanit was hit by
a Hizbullah C-802 surface-to-sea missile supplied by Iran.
to develop a missile system for patrol boats is due to a fear that Hamas and
Hizbullah are bolstering their anti-ship capabilities as well as an
understanding that anti-tank missiles, which both terrorist organizations
possess, could also be used to target the vessels, which tend to sail close to
The navy is also upgrading its reconnaissance and
intelligence- gathering capabilities and has decided to buy a number of unmanned
aerial vehicles (UAVs) that can be launched from its ships at sea and land on
them as well.
The UAV chosen was Yavnebased Aeronautics Defense Systems’
Orbiter, which has a range of about 80 kilometers, and can remain in
four hours at a height of about 18,000 ft. The Orbiter is already in use
countries, although only for land-based operations.
Like the land-based
version of the UAV, the Orbiter to be used by the navy will be launched
catapult and land into a net on the ship.
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