Eyeing drone threat from Iran, Israel working to boost radars, air defenses


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Eyeing drone threat from Iran, Israel working to boost radars, air defenses
Military hopes to have full coverage of northern airspace within two years, as part of plan to establish a nationwide air defense umbrella
By Judah Ari Gross
26 October 2021

The Israel Defense Forces is working to significantly boost its air defenses, particularly in northern Israel, in light of the growing threat of Iranian-made and Iranian-designed drones that have flooded into the Middle East in recent years, The Times of Israel has learned.

Within two years, the IDF intends to have a full, permanent defensive coverage in place over the airspace of northern Israel, with plans to eventually expand this to the entire country. Currently, the Israeli Air Force, which is tasked with defending the nation’s skies, has a number of fixed air defense systems in various parts of the country, which are supplemented by mobile batteries in times of heightened tensions or when attacks are expected.

In addition to the threats that Israel’s air defenses have faced in the past — rocket and missile fire, enemy aircraft — the IDF is now increasingly forced to contend with large and small unmanned aerial vehicles. Once the domain of nation-states, drone technology has become increasingly available to terrorist groups. Countering drone attacks is particularly difficult as the UAVs are more difficult to detect than comparatively larger manned aircraft, and fly at lower altitudes and with less predictable flight patterns than rockets.

Israeli officials point to the devastating 2019 attack by Iran on Saudi Arabia’s Aramco oil facility, which was conducted with both drones and cruise missiles, as a wake-up call to the severity of the threat posed by these weapons.

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