The Sky Dew (Tal Shamayim) aerial threat warning system, one of the largest such systems in the world, was transferred from the Defense Ministry to the Israeli Air Force on Tuesday, the IDF and Defense Ministry announced on Wednesday.
The Sky Dew system will be used to detect advanced aerial threats and will serve as part of the aerial monitoring framework used by the Air Force.
The system consists of a blimp which flies at a high altitude and is equipped with radar and detection systems which work over a wide range and in all directions.
The Sky Dew system was developed as part of a joint program by the Israel Missile Defense Organization (IMDO) in the Administration for the Development of Weapons and Technological Infrastructure (Maf’at) at the Defense Ministry and the US Department of Defense's Missile Defense Agency.
The aerial platform was developed by the American TCOM company, while the advanced radar system was developed by Israel Aerospace Industries' Elta Systems.
The Sky Dew unit will be tasked with completing the operational image of advanced threats on the northern border for the Israeli Air Force. A similar balloon is already deployed in southern Israel.
The ceremony on Tuesday was attended by Air Force commander Maj.-Gen. Amikam Nurkin, Maf’at head Brig.-Gen. (ret.) Dr. Daniel Gold, Director of the US Missile Defense Agency Jon Hill, IMDO head Moshe Fattal and flight control and supervision system commander Col. A.
"The Air Force faces significant challenges in the northern sector of the State of Israel, as we must be prepared for a variety of scenarios," said Nurkin. "The Sky Dew unit is a leap forward in the build up of the air control system, and will enable the creation of a more accurate picture of the sky, make the Air Force more prepared and assist in the further execution of the Air Force's mission - maintaining the security of the State of Israel."
"The technological cooperation led by Maf'at, the US Missile Defense Agency and the IAI, leads to technological breakthroughs that are expressed in significant operational capabilities also in the Sky Dew system, which has turned a technological vision into a significant operational system," said Gold.
"The Sky Dew system was a challenging mission that we set for ourselves about a decade ago and it is being handed over to the Air Force today in preparation for its transformation into an operational warning system, that will change reality," said Fattal. "The aerial detection balloon will sail at high altitude, will observe long distances and will allow maximum detection capability of advanced threats from different directions."
"This project is another excellent example of the collaboration between the Missile Defense Agency and the director of the IMDO in Maf'at and the partner industries," said Hill. "Such technological developments benefit both countries. The Sky Dew system will improve the capabilities of the State of Israel in detecting advanced threats and will maintain Israel's qualitative military advantage."