•      Sat Apr 13 2024

As attack drones multiply, Israeli firms develop defenses

In this Monday, Sept. 9, 2019 photo, Ariel Gomez, a systems engineer at Israel Aerospace Industries, works on the Popstar system that can track and identify flying objects day or night without being detected, at Israel Aerospace Industries, in the Israeli town of Yehud near Tel Aviv. Israel has long been a dominant player in the military drone export business, developing small attack aircraft as well as long-range spy planes. Now, Israeli firms are at the forefront of a global industry developing means to protect against the drone threat. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)

YEHUD, Israel, Sept 26 (AP) — Israel, one of the pioneers of drone warfare, is now on the front lines of an arms race to protect against attacks by the unmanned aircraft.

A host of Israeli companies have developed defense systems they say can detect or destroy incoming drones. But obstacles remain, particularly when operating in crowded urban airspaces.

Ulrike Franke, a policy fellow at the European Council of Foreign Relations, said: “Fighting these systems is really hard … not just because you need to detect them, but you also need to detect them everywhere and all the time.”

A series of drone strikes across the Middle East, including an attack on a Saudi oil field and processing plant that jolted international markets earlier this month, have underscored the devastating effectiveness of small unmanned attack aircraft.