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Rafael is using an advanced Electro Optical system to enhance the capability of the radar which forms part of its IRON DOME rocket defence solution. The SKY SPOTTER system will be integrated with other air defence systems made by Rafael and other manufacturers

The modern airspace is becoming increasingly challenged as aerial threats are growing in quantity, lethality and sophistication. Legacy radars now face new types of foes that endanger both aerial sovereignty and ground based critical assets. Low Radar Cross Section threats moving “below the radar” will pose a new level of difficulty for any air defence system, while Suppression of Enemy Air Defence and Electronic Warfare techniques will cripple emitting radars which are both conspicuous and vulnerable to Anti-Radiation weapons.

In light of such situations, Early Warning requirements have accordingly become very stringent with alert time measured in seconds while a false alarm is considered intolerable, particularly when the civilian population is involved. Therefore, even during daily routine, many cases of unverified aerial objects which appear on the screen just as “blips” compel frequent, yet unnecessary, scrambling of fighter jets for the purpose of providing paramount visual ID.


According to Rafael, SKY SPOTTER is a passive Early Warning System with a high probability of detection and very low false alarm rate. SKY SPOTTER uses highly sensitive MWIR, SWIR and VIS sensors, establishing a passive aerial defence sphere, ranging from 1 km radius up to 10’s of km and more, complementing the performance of legacy radars.

Rafael says that advanced automation, image processing and Artificial Intelligence algorithms enable multiple targets to be engaged, tracked and managed simultaneously. The Israeli company told ESD that SKY SPOTTER offers a comprehensive situational awareness engine for: Air Traffic Control, Automatic Sense and Warn in addition to GBAD interceptors’ cueing, including reliable Battle Damage Assessment and even covert intelligence gathering and analysis.

Arie Egozi