The tools to detect, identify and destroy hostile UAS are needed now

The Israeli air force (IAF) has been taking steps to deal with unmanned air systems (UAS) used by hostile forces, since Hezbollah in Lebanon launched two of them into Israel in 2004 and 2006.

However, the incursion of an Iranian-made UAS launched from Lebanon on October 6 tipped the scale in one very decisive blow.

The UAS was shot down over southern Israel by IAF F-16Is. Two air-to-air missiles were launched after the first one did not destroy the small UAS.

This incident points to a new front in which the IAF will have to supply solutions – and fast.

New regulations imposed last week which make use of a transponder by operators of ultralights and all other aircraft used by flight enthusiasts mandatory are seen here as an interim solution.

The new regulations demand the use of a transponder on every aerial platform that flies in Israeli air space, keeping constant radio contact with the Israeli air force’s control centers. These centers create the complete picture of the Israeli airspace.

Other regulations refer to hang-gliders in areas near the borders.

These regulations could help control the airspace better, but the IAF will have to come up with something more robust.

This includes tools to detect, identify and destroy targets at a very early stage of the flight path.

Small UAS have small radar cross-sections, and they make the mission to detect, identify and destroy much more complicated.

However, solutions have to be in place immediately, as Hezbollah and its Iranian patrons have declared that they intend to continue launching UAS into Israeli airspace.

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