Israel’s Defense Ministry’s Directorate of Research and Development (MAFAT – DDR&D) has tasked BIRD Aerosystems to demonstrate a prototype of an active defense system that will protect ground troops and high-value assets against airborne threats (including anti-tank guided missiles – ATGM). The system called ‘HybridEye’ was unveiled at the Eurosatory 2022 exhibition. Unlike existing vehicle perimeter cameras, HybridEye covers a full-hemispheric ‘bubble’ around the vehicle, detecting threats coming from all directions and elevations. The system provides hemispheric detection of threats and provides target data for passive or active countermeasures on board.
Recent conflicts underline the vulnerability of ground combat vehicles, troops, and facilities to low-flying aerial attacks by missiles, drones, and loitering weapons. Existing active defense systems, including air and active protection systems, were designed to engage fast aircraft or missiles and projectiles that use a direct attack. They lack the capability to deal with relatively slow, low-flying targets or those using lofted trajectories to attack their targets from above.
The HybridEye uses a fully digital, software-defined miniature phased array C-Band radar employing multi-beam technology to enable instantaneous early warning of multiple threats from long and very short range. This radar is designed to achieve the required angular resolution at close ranges, in both azimuth and elevation, as Active Protection Systems (APS) requires. The technology was derived from the confirmation and tracking radar sensor developed by BIRD’s for its operationally-proven SPREOS airborne directed infrared countermeasure system (DIRCM). The new radar will perform threat detection and verification and provide target acquisition and guidance data to guide countermeasures against the threats it detects. Each compact system and its electronics are integrated into a single lightweight Line Replaceable Unit (LRU) that eliminates the need for foresight, and enables a simple integration on different platforms, used for perimeter protection and APS.
The project is currently at an advanced stage of development and is expected to demonstrate a complete active defense capability this year.