Israel’s Defense Ministry says a laser air defense system it created successfully downed drones, rockets, mortars and anti-tank missiles in a series of tests last month. The tests would have taken place in the Negev desert.
This ground-based laser system, dubbed “Iron Beam”, is intended to enhance the capabilities of a number of air defense systems, including the most expensive rocket interceptor, the Iron Dome.
The tests were conducted at “difficult” intervals and times, according to the department’s research and development team leader, Brig. General (res.) Yaniv Rotem.
These tests came more than a month after Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said in February that the country was accelerating the deployment of the laser-based system to reduce the country’s current high costs for eliminating airborne threats.
The test results were revealed amid a fresh round of political unrest in Israel, which could lead to another round of elections.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett remarked, “It may sound like science fiction, but it’s true. “The Iron Beam interceptions are quiet, invisible, and only cost about $3.50 each,” he noted.
“Israel has successfully tested the new ‘Iron Beam’ laser interception system,” Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said on Twitter. Costing $3.50 per shot, it’s the world’s first energy-based weapon system that uses a laser to shoot down oncoming UAVs, rockets and mortars.
Furthermore, the news comes just days before last year’s 11-day Israel-Gaza war, in which Gaza’s main militant group, Hamas, fired nearly 4,000 missiles at Israel. Tensions between Israel and Palestine in the West Bank have increased following a series of Palestinian attacks followed by Israeli fire.
The proclamation was also meant to send a message to Israel’s enemies, especially its nemesis, Iran. It is important to note that Israel views Iran as a major danger to its regional security.
In addition, Iran-backed militias in Yemen, the Houthi rebels, have recently attacked the Saudi coalition using drones and missiles, a tactic frequently used by terrorist organizations associated with Iran.
Iron beam to complete the iron dome.
In the 1990s, lasers were used to intercept rockets, but by 2000 Israel had abandoned the idea. After the Second Lebanon War in 2006, work on a short-to-medium range rocket and missile interception system restarted, eventually leading to the construction of the “Iron Dome” system a few years later.
Thanks to a breakthrough in laser technology, Israel was able to resume development of a laser system that would be significantly cheaper than the Iron Dome in 2019.
In June last year, the laser-based defensive system was used for the first time to shoot down a drone. During the ongoing tests, other threats such as unguided projectiles and anti-tank guided missiles were successfully tested for the first time.
This was apparently motivated by fears that in the event of a future battle, the military would not have enough Iron Dome interceptor missiles and other air defense systems to shoot down incoming rockets, missiles, and drones. Also, compared to Iron Beam, the operating costs of an Iron Dome are extremely high.
It is not meant to replace Iron Dome or Israel’s other air defense systems; rather, it is intended to supplement and augment them, shooting down smaller missiles while leaving larger ones to more powerful missile-based batteries.
The Prime Minister had already set a drastic timetable for the rapid deployment of the Iron Beam system. “Within a year, the Tsahal (Israeli Defense Forces) will put into action a laser-based interception system, first experimentally, then operationally, first in the south, then elsewhere,” a- he said in his speech. The “south” was an allusion to the Gaza border.
Israel wins a great victory.
Israel already has a multi-layered missile defense system, including the well-known “Iron Dome” system for shooting down rockets and some cruise missiles, “David’s Sling” for cruise missiles and some ballistic missiles, and ” Arrow” for ballistic missiles. missiles – potentially hypersonic with the “Arrow-4” upgrade.
Despite the fact that Israel’s defense systems are fully compatible with the threat posed by Hamas in Gaza and Iran-backed militias, he insists on adding laser systems, citing cost as the reason.
All three layers of Israel’s air defense system use expensive interceptor missiles to shoot down a missile, rocket or mortar shell. According to one Israeli estimate, a full-fledged rocket strike would require 30,000 Iron Dome interceptors valued at billions of dollars.
A contemporary laser weapon, on the other hand, can fire indefinitely as long as it has electricity and never runs out of ammo. Although laser beams can’t totally replace interceptors (they have problems in bad weather, for example), they could be a useful addition to defense.
Israel’s efforts to thwart what it sees as Iran’s intentions to encircle it with terrorists capable of destroying its infrastructure with relatively less expensive barrages have been pointed out by Prime Minister Bennett. Israel appears to be seeking to build a fortification based on its interception capabilities, according to the statements.
Israel has been plagued by tensions with Iran, which is currently negotiating with the United States to resuscitate the nuclear deal. Despite the fact that the talks are still pending, Israel has threatened to attack its nuclear facilities.
While tensions between the two sworn enemies remain a distinct possibility, Israel’s acquisition of the Iron Beam missile defense system could prove a boost to its security against any future missile or drone strikes.