Navy tests new missile defense systems

Small UAVs that can be launched from ships also being considered to counter Hamas, Hizbullah.

September 12, 2010 01:11
1 minute read.
The Orbiter UAV

THE ORBITER UAV. (photo credit: Courtesy)


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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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Until now, 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 Phalanx.

During the Second Lebanon War in 2006, the INS Hanit was hit by a Hizbullah C-802 surface-to-sea missile supplied by Iran.

The decision 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 shore.

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 flight for four hours at a height of about 18,000 ft. The Orbiter is already in use in 10 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 from a catapult and land into a net on the ship.

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