Israel deploys new optics, interception system to fight Gaza’s incendiary kites

Rafi Babiyan, security officer for the Sdot Negev Regional Council, holding a kite and incendiary devices that landed in Israeli fields near the Gaza border, June 11, 2018. (Sam Sokol)

Rafi Babiyan, security officer for the Sdot Negev Regional Council, holding a kite and incendiary devices that landed in Israeli fields near the Gaza border, June 11, 2018. (Sam Sokol)

(JTA) – Israel has deployed a new system that it says can neutralize much of the threat from the thousands of incendiary kites and balloons that Gazans have been sending into Israel in recent weeks.

The Sky Spotter system, which was designed to deal with drones, was deployed around Israel’s border with Gaza earlier this month and has proven itself capable to pinpoint and track multiple targets during peaks of activity by dispatchers of incendiary objects, Channel 2 reported.

The system, which is based on powerful optics, provides an interactive three-dimensional image of the border area at great resolution. Flagged objects appear as red lines suspended above the topography. The system tracks the objects as they drift eastward from Gaza on breeze blowing inland from the Mediterranean.

Operators can then engage the objects with remote-operated drones.

The system can also calculate the projected point of impact with or without interception, allowing operators to dispatch firefighters to the expected area to extinguish the flames before they spread or even when they are still in the air, the report said.

The Channel 2 report said the system, which was developed by the Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, detects and tracks 100 per cent of all incendiary objects sent Israel’s way even when dozens are launched almost simultaneously.

Before the system’s deployment, the Israel Defense Forces recruited drone operators to intercept the incendiary objects.

The use of incendiary objects as a tactic began in the spring of 2018. Hundreds of acres of farming land and natural forest have been consumed in the flames.

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