© Screenshot/Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd.
Israeli aerospace company Rafael has released a video showing its newly-developed defense system - an UAV interceptor called the Drone Dome - literally shooting drones down with a powerful laser beam.

The footage published on YouTube shows the system, mounted on a car, shooting down quadcopters somewhere in a desert in Israel. The video demonstrates the interceptor blasting a small drone that's vigorously maneuvering mid-air and successfully shooting down several unmanned aerial vehicle flying in a formation.

Rafael boasted that its new product provides "effective detection, full identification and neutralization of multiple Micro and Mini UAV threats" and said that it can detect a target as small as two centimeters (about one inch) across at a distance of 3.5 kilometers. It also said that the drone dome has "soft kill" and "hard kill" options allowing an operation to choose between seizing control over the target UAV and simply shooting it down.

With the name apparently inspired by Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system, 'Drone Dome' appears to be primarily designed to deal with small drones that could particularly disrupt the work of civilian airports or interfere with civilian flights. Whether it could successfully engage larger military-grade UAVs is unclear.

The technology itself is not out of the ordinary. As drones take an increasingly prominent role on the battlefields, a growing number of nations have begun to look at lasers as a potential response to this new type of a threat, as well as an effective means of aerial defense. Back in 2018, Russia unveiled a novel combat laser system, presented by Russian President Vladimir Putin among other new weaponry. In spring 2019, Germany also said it successfully tested a military laser.

Israel presented another laser weapon in its arsenal just last month - a system reportedly capable of intercepting rockets, guided missiles, and other projectiles by utilizing multiple laser beams focused together.