The Israel Police on Thursday unveiled a laser-defense system designed to intercept airborne incendiary threats of the kind launched from the Gaza Strip in recent years. According to Israel’s Channel 12 News, while the system is operational, no deployment date has been announced.

Dubbed “Light Blade,” the system is said to resemble Israel’s Iron Dome air-defense system in its technology. It will tackle incendiary balloons and kites launched by terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip, which have started countless fires in Israel’s southern communities over the past two summers, as well as drones.

Light Blade is said to be the first defense system of its kind in the world.

The terrorist arson campaign launched in late ‎‎‎‎‎April 2018 ‎has decimated nearly 10,000 acres of ‎‎‎‎forest ‎‎and farmlands on the Israeli side of the ‎‎‎‎border. ‎‎Incendiary kites and balloons have caused ‎‎‎millions ‎‎of dollars in damage to the area over the ‎‎‎past seven ‎‎months alone, and environmental experts ‎say it ‎‎‎will take at ‎‎least 15 years to rehabilitate ‎the ‎‎‎region’s vegetation and ‎‎wildlife.‎

Light Blade was developed by three civilian engineers working with Ben-Gurion University researchers and the technology branches of the Israel Police and Israel Defense Forces. The project, led by Border Police Commissioner Maj. Gen. Yaakov Shabtai, was a year in the making.

According to available details, the laser is capable of engaging targets at a range of 2 kilometers (1.2 miles), day or night.

Once the system locks on to its target it fires a unique laser beam at it. If the target is a balloon or a kite, the beam incinerates it almost instantly. The Light Blade takes slightly longer to bring down drones.

Shabtai said that Light Blade “provides a near conclusive response to everything relating to balloons and kites, and delivers a safe and effective solution to the drone threat.”

This article first appeared in Israel Hayom.

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