Rafael Advanced Defence Systems is set to showcase its Drone Dome, a counter unmanned aerial system (UAS) air defence system, at the inaugural DSEI Japan event this month.
Several countries have already ordered the counter-UAS system and Rafael has offered the system to Japan to defend the skies above the Tokyo Olympics next year.
When contacted Rafael did not disclose which nations had ordered the system, however the British Army has in the past purchased six of the systems at a cost of £16m.
According to the Rafael the system “integrates detection, classification, identification, and neutralisation capabilities, providing an end-to-end, mobile, quick response anti-UAV defence solution for sensitive sites and airspace”.
Drawing on the company’s experience in the sector from work on Iron Dome and other anti-air systems, the system is designed largely to intercept micro and nano UAVs, such as those used in aerial attacks or to survey and conduct intelligence gathering against military positions.
A spokesperson for Rafael told Air Force Technology: “As for performance, I think it’s a combination of long-time experience Rafael has in the field of air defence, its multidisciplinary make-up, and more specifically, unique advanced algorithms that play a major role in the way the system identifies, tracks and neutralises [threats].”
Drone Dome can operate in all weather conditions and works using a three-pronged approach. Firstly a radar system detects the target; this target is then engaged using a high power laser interceptor to destroy the drone and a ‘C-Guard RD’ system that can jam the drone’s connection with its operator.
The combination of hard and soft kill measures gives the system a better chance of destroying its target and also can reduce the risk of collateral damage.
The system is believed to have been deployed at Gatwick Airport in 2018 during the drone disruption incident that grounded flights for three days. British and US Special Forces in Syria have also reportedly used the system.
Drone Dome has a detection range of 10 miles across 360 degrees of coverage from four radars. In promotional material Rafael says: “The Drone system is operational under all weather conditions, 24 hours a day. First, the threat is detected and identified by the radar and EO/IR sensors. The data is combined, correlated and alerts the operator of the hostile UAV.”
Once the hostile UAV enters the target area, the operator can then choose how to engage the target using either the hard or soft kill method.