Greece has secretly been establishing a system of defence against Turkish drones, using Israeli technology to counter them in the case of an attack.
In the Greek newspaper, Kathimerini, its diplomatic-defence correspondent and journalist, Vassilis Nedos, wrote that Athens has set up a “veritable umbrella against enemy unmanned aerial vehicles” over the past two months, particularly over islands and important sites in the country.
Manufactured and created by the Israeli defence company, Rafael Advanced Defence Systems, the ‘Drone Dome’ works by jamming the communications systems and GPS of drones and potentially neutralising them. It can also reportedly shoot down autonomous drones with an invisible 10-kilowatt laser.
The company, which secretly provided the system to Greece and has a policy of non-disclosure of clients, further offers customised versions of the system to clients, which it has reportedly done for Athens. “It is basically a version of an anti-UAV system that has features similar to those of Israel’s Drone Dome, but adapted to the specific needs of Greece and the geographical terrain of the islands and other border areas,” Nedos wrote.
The implementation of the system comes at a time when tensions have increased sharply between Greece and Turkiye throughout the past few months, especially over the issue of maritime rights and Athens arming or militarisation of Aegean islands. Despite the system possessing the ability to down UAVs, in the current peacetime – albeit tense – it could serve to protect Greek airspace from Turkish drones’ intervention and monitoring of military movements.
Turkish drones, such as the Bayraktar TB2, have gained significant popularity over the past two years after their performance was proven effective in Syria, Libya, and Nagorno-Karabakh in 2020. Since then, Ankara has used its UAVs to offer defence to its allies, boost its domestic arms industry and project its influence in the region and beyond.
The drones have also ignited concern in Europe at Turkiye’s growing military and defence capabilities, causing nations such as Greece, in this case, to attempt to set up defence systems to counter any potential future confrontations with the Turkish UAVs.
The Israeli ‘drone dome’ provided to Greece is also a result of the growing ties in the defence sector between Athens and Tel Aviv, with the two having signed a $1.68 billion defence deal last year, which was the largest in their bilateral history and which included the provision of the M-346 trainer aircraft and the establishment of a flight school in Greece. Three months later, they signed another defence deal worth $1.65 billion.