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Israel deploys Tal Shamaim missile defense aerostat

Tal Shamaim HAAS missile defense aerostat
Tal Shamaim was deployed on March 22 after first trials started in November 2021. Photo: Israeli defense ministry

The Israeli defense ministry’s missile defense organization (IMDO) has delivered the Tal Shamaim aerostat that will boost the Israeli Air Force’s missile defense capabilities.

Developed in cooperation with the US Missile Defense Agency, the High Availability Aerostat System (HAAS) is one of the world’s largest aerostats and is designed to carry an improved sensing system, to provide detection and early warning of cruise missiles and advanced threats aimed towards Israel.

The hand-over ceremony took place on March 22 after the country started first trials with the system in November last year.

“The IAF faces significant threats in the northern theater, and we must be prepared for every scenario. The new system provides an important addition to existing air control capabilities and enhances the IAF’s ability to defend Israeli skies,” Israel Air Force Commander, Maj. Gen. Norkin, commented.

The elevated sensor system that makes up Tal Shamaim is comprised of the HAAS and an advanced radar designed to detect incoming threats at long ranges when operating at high altitudes. It will provide additional detection and early warning capabilities to the existing operational air defense detection array deployed around Israel.

The aerostat will enhance a range of missile defense systems already in service, as well as those currently under development, including an airborne laser system for anti-air defense.

Israel’s defense ministry says the aerostat was developed in cooperation with Israel Aerospace Industries’ ELTA division, which specializes in advanced defense and intelligence electronics.

Israel is not the first country to leverage aerostat technology to improve the range and efficiency of its radar systems. The US armed forces have been using such area surveillance solutions for years to protect their forward operating bases, while Germany is currently working on procuring a similar system.