IDF develops active missile-shield for helicopters
By YAAKOV KATZ
Amid concern that shoulder-to-air missiles will be fired in large numbers at IAF aircraft in future warfare, army initiates plans for protective shield for helicopters.
The military has initiated plans to develop a protective shield for its helicopters amid concern that shoulder-to-air missiles will be fired in large numbers at Israel Air Force aircraft in a future war.
The new system – Fliker – is under contract by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and successfully intercepted a rocket- propelled grenade in its first test recently.
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Fliker is designed to serve as the second layer of defense for helicopters and will be activated when automatic flares fail to divert an incoming missile.
Fliker’s unique launcher can rotate in the direction of missile projection and fire an interceptor in defense. The interceptor is designed to minimize debris and thereby reduce the risk that shrapnel will hit and damage the aircraft.
In recent years and in the face of a similar threat, the IAF has modified its flight plans over the Gaza Strip and southern Lebanon due to intelligence reports that both Hamas and Hezbollah have obtained a significant number of shoulder- to-air missiles.
Hamas, for example, is believed to possess a significant number of Russian-designed shoulder-fired missiles, obtained from Iran and Libya.
Hezbollah has many shoulder- to-air missiles, according to the IAF. Israel is also concerned about reports that the organization might have the SA-8 – a Russian tactical mobile truck that offers a surface-to-air missile system with a range of 30 kilometers.
During the Second Lebanon War in 2006, Hezbollah shot down a Yasour (Sikorsky CH- 53) transport helicopter in Lebanon, killing its crew.
The Defense Ministry considered using the Trophy active protection system, which is installed on Merkava Mk 4 tanks in order to deflect antitank missiles.
The Trophy system, however, was found to be incompatible with helicopters since it fires off a cloud of countermeasures that could damage the aircrafts’ rotors.