Israel’s ‘Sky Dew’ defense system in north becomes operational

High altitude balloons affixed with advanced sensors to augment IDF’s ability to detect threats.

By Aryeh Savir, TPS

The Israel Missile Defense Organization (IMDO) transferred on Tuesday to the Israeli Air Force the Tal Shamayim’ (Sky Dew in Hebrew), a high altitude balloon providing detection and early warning capabilities for threats emerging from the north, such as missiles and drones.

The tethered balloons affixed with advanced radar and other sensors will augment the IDF’s ability to detect threats.

The Sky Dew system, one of the largest of its kind in the world, is comprised of a High Availability Aersostat-borne System and advanced radar. The unit is complementary to a similar balloon stationed in the south of the country.

“The unit is a significant component in strengthening the protection of the state’s borders, and will allow the Air Force to continue to carry out its first mission – the protection of the country’s skies,” the IDF stated Wednesday.

The radar system was developed under a cooperative program between IMDO and the US Missile Defense Agency (MDA).

The advantages of tethered aerial systems include the ability to elevate in a matter of seconds and stay in the air for an unlimited period of time since the electric power supply remains on the ground. The logistical footprint is reduced dramatically, and the output provided is achieved in a simple way.

The new unit is “a leap forward in the intensification of the air control system, and will enable the creation of a more accurate picture of the sky, make the Air Force more prepared and help further the Air Force’s mission – maintaining the security of the State of Israel,” IAF Commander General Amikam Norkin stated.

Israel over the years has developed a multi-layered defense system to contend with the ever-evolving ballistic projectile threat from Iran, the Gaza Strip and Hezbollah in Lebanon, which includes the Iron Dome system for close-range threats, the Magic Wand for mid-range threats, and the Arrow 2 and Arrow 3 systems for long-range threats.

Iran tried to attack Israel with kamikaze drones in February.

World Israel News staff contributed to this report.