The Israeli Air Force officially opened a new unit on Tuesday that operates an advanced, Israel Aerospace Industries-made radar carried on-board a large aerostat.

The Sky Dew Unit opened after Israel’s Ministry of Defense’s Missile Defense Organization and Research Directorate delivered the radar, dubbed “Elevated Sensor,” to the Israel Defense Forces.

Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin, IAF Commander, said: ”The Israeli Air Force faces significant challenges in northern Israel, and we are prepared for any threat. The ‘Elevated Sensor’ operational system provides an important addition to existing air traffic control capabilities. The new system provides the Israeli Air Force a more advanced and precise ability to defend the skies of Israel.”

The opening ceremony was attended by senior defense officials including Brig. Gen. (res.) Daniel Gold, head of the Defense Ministry’s Directorate of Defense Research and Development; the director of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency,  Vice Adm. Jon A. Hill; and Israel Missile Defense Organization chief Moshe Patel.

The IDF said in a statement that the IAI radar “is an airborne system on one of the world’s largest aerostats. [It] will enable advanced detection and warning of various threats and will be an additional element in generating a full picture of air control for the defense of Israeli airspace. The system was developed through a cooperative program between IMDO and the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA). The High Availability Aerostat System (HAAS) was developed and manufactured by TCOM, a U.S. company; ELTA an Israel Aircraft Industry (IAI) subsidiary developed an advanced radar system.”

In related news, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz held a farewell flight with Norkin, who is due to complete his five-year term as air force chief in April, in an F-15 on Wednesday. During the event, Gantz thanked Norkin for “tens of years of professional, brave and creative service,” according to a statement released by Gantz’s office.


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