Israel approves funding for iron beam laser interceptor

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Israel’s Defense Ministry has approved funding to develop a high-powered laser interceptor.

Co-developed by the Directorate of Defense Research and Development, Rafale Defense and Elbit Systems, the Iron Beam laser system will be integrated into Israel’s multi-level air defense network consisting of Iron Dome, David’s Sling and Arrow.

Rafale unveiled the Iron Beam concept in 2014 as a cost-effective option for intercepting rockets, mortars and drones. The multi-kilowatt solid-state laser concept consisted of a pair of laser effectors combining their beams to destroy targets.

Ready by 2023

The system has a range of up to 7 kilometers (4.35 miles) and destroys a target within four seconds of contact, national interest reportedadding that it is compatible with many radars and can be fitted to a range of vehicles.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett announcement in February that the system would be ready within a year, deployed experimentally for a year, and operationally thereafter.

Economic option

The Iron Beam would cost $2,000 per shot, compared to Iron Dome’s $100,000 to $150,000 per interception.

Explaining the economic rationale behind the system, Bennett said intercepting a few hundred dollars worth of rockets with tens of thousands of dollars worth of Iron Dome battery tips the fight in favor of the enemy.

“This equation does not make sense,” said the Prime Minister.

“He allows [the terrorists] to launch more and more Kassams and that we lose several millions during a “love at first sight” and billions during a campaign. We decided to solve the equation, and it will be broken in just a few years.

“If you can intercept a missile or a rocket with an electrical impulse that costs a few dollars, we weaken the ring of fire that Iran has built on our borders.

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