Faced with Iran Missile Threat, Israel Launches Advanced Warning Balloon

Sky Dew system. Photo courtesy of credit: Israeli Ministry of Defense Spokesperson’s Office

With threats to Israel’s north and Iran’s aggressive missile program in the background, Israel is expanding their air defense early warning system with a giant air balloon. The balloon Elevated Sensor system—nicknamed “Sky Dew”—is designed to “provide detection and early warning of advanced threats,” the Israeli Ministry of Defense (MOD) announced last week in a press release. The Times of Israel, in their report on the news, highlighted the danger of Iran’s drones and cruise missiles and cited the Israeli MOD as saying the warning system would address those weapons as well as long-range missiles.

The Sky Dew system, which the MOD press release said was being inflated last week and is to be deployed in Israel’s north, comes as the threat from Iranian attacks has escalated in recent years. The 2019 assault on Saudi Arabia’s oil industry, for example, reportedly used drones and cruise missiles. Such missiles were specifically highlighted in last week’s MOD press release on the new Sky Dew detection system.

“In several flight test campaigns conducted in recent months, we have demonstrated the outstanding capabilities of Israel’s multi-tier missile defense—including against cruise missiles,” Israel Missile Defense Organization Director Moshe Patel said in the press release.

The balloon, known as a High Availability Aerostat System (HAAS), is one of the largest such aerostats in the world. The Sky Dew Elevated Sensor system consists of the aerostat balloon and advanced radar, which the press release said is “designed to detect incoming threats at long ranges when operating at high altitudes.”

The aerostat was developed by TCOM, a United States company specializing in such surveillance systems. Overall the Sky Dew system was a cooperative project between the Israelis and the Americans, including the US Missile Defense Agency (MDA).

MDA Director Vice Admiral Jon Hill was quoted in the press release as saying the Elevated Sensor technology and research is “a benefit to both nations.”

“Additionally, this system will further enhance Israel’s advanced threat detection capabilities to maintain Israel’s qualitative military edge,” said Hill.

Specifically, the system represents a “significant technological and operational advantage for early and precise threat detection,” said Boaz Levy, President and CEO of Israel Aerospace Industries, which worked on the project. He called the Elevated Sensor system a “unique development” that “increases the reliability of the aerial surveillance picture, and increases efficiency against a range of targets.”

The Sky Dew system joins an impressive array of Israeli missile defense programs, including the Iron Dome, David’s Sling and Arrow systems, and continues the trend of the US working together with Israel on defensive solutions.

‘The IMDO and MDA, together with the [Israeli Air Force] and defense industries are constantly improving Israel’s threat detection capabilities,” said Patel. “This aerostat system will cruise at high altitudes and provide an exceptional, multi-directional detection capability against advanced threats.”

With those threats coming from various directions and only growing in danger, the Sky Dew system is another key piece in defending the State of Israel.

(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, November 7, 2021)

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