The Israel Missile Defense Organization (IMDO) has begun testing an Elevated Sensor system designed to detect incoming threats. It is comprised of a High Availability Aerostat System (HAAS) and an advanced radar. It will operate at high altitudes, providing detection & early warning capabilities. The Israel Missile Defense Organization, Israeli Air Force (IAF; Zroa HaAvir VeHahalal) and ELTA commenced inflation of the High Availability Aerostat System & initial testing for the deployment of the Elevated Sensor system in northern Israel. This radar system was developed under a cooperative program between IMDO and the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA).
The High Availability Aerostat System was developed by the Elta division of Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI). The balloon itself was produced by the American TCOM company, a specialist in this field that also produced the aerostat for The Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor System (JLENS, Spy Balloon) but failed to provide an operational capability before being canceled amid delays and cost overruns. Other countries have introduced similar aerostat-based long-range surveillance systems, including China, which has deployed aerostats that may carry radars above its man-made islands in the South China Sea.
The detection system, dubbed “Sky Dew,” is meant to be deployed at high altitudes in order to detect incoming long-range missiles, cruise missiles and drones. Israel already maintains an array of radar systems to detect incoming threats, but the new aerostat is meant to complement and improve existing capabilities by placing the sensors at high altitude. In several flight test campaigns conducted in recent months, the Sky Dew have demonstrated the outstanding capabilities of Israel’s multi-tier missile defense — including against cruise missiles. The ability to remain aloft for extended periods offer cost-effectiveness and reduced maintenance demands, especially compared with airborne early-warning aircraft.
TCOM, LP is a global leader of Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance (ISR) solutions of Lighter-than-Air Persistent Surveillance Tethered Aerostat platforms for Air, Maritime, and Land. For over 40 years, the company’s pioneering innovations have defined the persistent surveillance and Lighter-than-Air industries. By blending leading-edge technology, manufacturing, and field operation capabilities, TCOM has provided ISR systems for United States, and foreign governments with complete persistent surveillance capabilities. TCOM systems are in use around the globe including theaters of combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.