Israeli defense company unveils its radar-targeting battle gear to destroy drones

The Smash Hopper is a versatile rifle and mounting system that can be installed on a tripod, vehicle, or maritime vessel to engage targets.
Christopher McFadden
Image of the Smartshooter Hopper system.


An Israeli defense company, Smartshooter, has unveiled its "smart" radar-equipped war gear to detect and destroy small uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAVs).

Specializing in fire control systems for rifles and remote weapon stations, the new tech could prove pivotal for vulnerable personnel in a world where drones are becoming ever more present on the battlefield.

Unveiled at the Modern Day Marine event this week, the new tech combines Smartshooter's impressive "Hopper Light" tech and DRS RADA Technologies’ MHR radar.

The system can detect and kill drones

“The integration of our Hopper with the RPS-42 radar provides a very effective end-to-end solution to neutralize drones swiftly, ensuring the protection of personnel and critical assets,” said Michal Mor, Smartshooter CEO, in a statement. “Shortening the sensor-to-shooter cycle, this advanced solution enhances the force’s situational awareness and survivability and takes air defense to a new level,” he added.

As Breaking Defense explains, drones are becoming increasingly common among countries and militant groups, so it's crucial to have effective detection methods against small drone threats. While commercial drones can often be linked to their operator and disrupted through jamming or spoofing, autonomous drones, and similar threats may require a more aggressive approach.

Smartshooter's Smash 2000L, a fire control system mounted on a rifle, has already been tested by the Marines and is a vital tool within the US defense community. While the system is not yet operational, it has undergone successful testing and verification. According to company representative Aloni, "Both the SMASH Hopper and the SMASH 2000L are combat proven and have been used operationally. They're ready to go."

Sharone Aloni, the company's vice president for research and development, said that though they worked on this combination over time and it’s not yet operational, this is the first time they are revealing it to potential customers.

The Smash Hopper is a versatile rifle and mounting system that can be installed on a tripod, vehicle, or maritime vessel to engage targets. It operates based on remote commands given by the operator. In addition, the radar developed by RADA, another Israeli company, can detect drones from several kilometers away and not notify combat units of potential threats.

Combined, the gun can “slew and cue” in a hand-off from the radar. “In such a way, the weapon is pointed in the right direction and ready to engage when [the drone] reaches the [rifle’s] range. It is a kind of early warning system so the system can be ready to engage the target,” said Aloni in an interview. But there is always a person in the loop, Aloni said. “Some of this is related to how the radar works, but the radar can provide [operators] with a prioritized queue of targets based on a range of targets to help which to engage first,” he added.

It comes in a range of calibers too

The Hopper rifle is currently available in 5.56mm or 7.62 calibers, but according to Aloni, it may also be compatible with light machine guns. Aloni has suggested that the Smart Hopper could be integrated into the Marines' MADIS air defense system, which currently utilizes a Rada RPS-42 radar and is mounted on a vehicle. This would be an efficient application of the system, as Aloni remarked that using a mobile platform for this purpose would be very appealing.

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