Silent Hunter Laser Air Defense Systems
Silent Hunter Laser Air Defense Systems

Saudi Arabia Deploys Silent Hunter Laser Air Defense Systems Against Houthi Drones

Saudi Arabia is said to have deployed Chinese-made Silent Hunter laser air defense systems. The Silent Hunter is an anti-drone laser weapon developed in China by Poly Technologies. The anti-drone laser weapon were procured to protect Riyadh against reconnaissance drones and loitering munitions fired by Iran-backed Houthi militia. Houthis reportedly have Iran-made Shahed-136 kamikaze drones, the same UAVs Russia has been using in the ongoing war against Ukraine. The Silent Hunter is an improved version of the 30-kilowatt Low-Altitude Laser Defending System (LASS) and is available in both fixed and mobile versions.

Silent Hunter Laser Air Defense Systems
Silent Hunter Laser Air Defense Systems.

The Silent Hunter was delivered to Saudi Arabia in March 2022. Although not officially confirmed, a satellite image circulating on social media showed a combat vehicle that is the same as on the model of that version of the Silent Hunter which was presented for Saudi Arabia at an exhibition. A Chinese 3D TWA radar also operates near the laser system. this radar has a good ability to detect low-altitude, small and slow targets despite strong noise waves close to the ground. Detecting drones is difficult because of their small size and also because they often fly low. Noise waves from the ground often disrupt radar signals.

 S-band 3D TWA low-altitude surveillance radar
S-band 3D TWA low-altitude surveillance radar.

The Silent Hunter uses an electrically powered fiber optic laser and according to one Poly official, has a maximum power that is between 30 and 100 kilowatts and a maximum range of four kilometers. Although it is primarily designed to search, track, and destroy low-flying drones, it is powerful enough to “ablate” or penetrate five 2 millimeter steel plates at a range of 800 meters or a single 5 millimeter steel plate at 1000 meters. The sheer bulk of the Silent Hunter prevents its use on an aerial platform. A Poly official claimed that the Silent Hunter was used to safe guard the September 2016 G-20 Summit in Hangzhou, China.

Silent Hunter laser intercepted 13 suicide drones.
Silent Hunter intercepted 13 suicide drones.

Compared to traditional air defense weapons, it has the following characters:
Response quickly and available for hitting wherever you point.
The ability of attacking multi-target and high interception hit rate, and also able to complete target switching and aiming in 6 seconds.
Low cost, consuming electric energy only. One shot of launching power costs less than one dollar and meanwhile it does not use ammunition which get rid of the trouble of ammunition transportation.
Little collateral damage, not a lot of debris.

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