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Air Platforms

Rafael demos Drone Dome-L with hard-kill laser capability

12 February 2020
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Image of a multiple drone attack during the live demonstration of Rafael Advanced Defence Systems’ Drone Dome-L in southern Israel in December 2019. Source: Rafael Advanced Defence Systems

Rafael Advanced Defense Systems has conducted the first live demonstrations of its Drone Dome-L counter-unmanned aircraft systems (CUAS) system using an integrated hard-kill high energy laser effector.

The Rafael-sponsored demonstration, conducted in southern Israel in December 2019 but only disclosed by the company on 11 February, provided for end-to-end detection, tracking, and laser interception of "multiple UAS, including manoeuvring targets" by Drone Dome-L's laser capability. The event was preceded by a two-year internal test campaign, which, in the past six months, has brought the Drone Dome-L system to a sufficient level of maturity to enable Rafael to stage the multiple intercept demonstration.

Rafael used Phantom-class quadcopter UAS systems as the threat targets in the demonstration; engagement ranges and specific laser dwell time required to defeat the threat was not disclosed.

Drone Dome-L is an end-to-end modular all-weather 360° system designed to offer protection against hostile micro- and mini- and micro UAS threats. The baseline Drone Dome-L configuration system comprises a RADA RPS-42 S-band multi-mission hemispheric radar, a long-range surveillance system (SPEED ER) developed by Controp, a communications package, and the C-Guard RD (rapid deployment) lightweight, fully programmable, portable jammer and NetSense Wideband detection sensor systems developed by Netline, all supported by advanced algorithms developed by Rafael. The company added the hard-kill laser beam director capability in mid-2017. The system can interface with various external systems and also supports future growth options, which includes additional sensors and effectors.

The RPS-42 is a four-panel (non-rotating) tactical air surveillance system delivering 360° coverage in azimuth and 90° in elevation. Optimised to detect, track, and classify all classes of UAS, the RPS-42 active electronically scanned array (AESA) software-defined radar has a detection radius of 30 km - including the detection of a minimum target size of 0.002 m² at a range of 3.2 km - and at altitudes from 30-30,000 ft.

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