Israel reveals results of ‘ground-breaking’ military test
The Israeli Ministry of Defense revealed on Thursday that its laser air defense system has successfully completed “ground-breaking” tests involving “steep-track” threats, “challenging” ranges and timings, as well as “multiple scenarios.”
According to the ministry’s statement, the system, which has been dubbed the Iron Beam, successfully intercepted “shrapnel, rockets, anti-tank missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles.”
“This is a first-rate breakthrough of integrating laser technology into the defense system of the State of Israel,” the ministry said.
It noted that the successful experiments can also be considered as a “game changer” and an “international achievement,” as a laser is “an effective, accurate, easy-to-operate tool which is significantly cheaper than any other existing means of protection.”
Israel has been testing the innovative air defense system, developed with the manufacturer Rafael, for several years. Initially it was poised to be deployed by 2024, but in February the country’s prime minister, Naftali Bennett, announced that it would be rolled out on the border with the Gaza strip much earlier, in 2022. According to the Times of Israel, a downside of the laser system is that it does not function well in times of low visibility. Therefore, according to the outlet, in several years the Israeli military intends to use aircraft to lift the Iron Beam above the clouds.
The Iron Beam will complement existing Israeli air defense systems, including the famous Iron Dome, and will be shooting down smaller-sized projectiles.