An Israeli defense technology company has revealed details of a laser defense system with futuristic ‘Star Wars’ style technology which can disintegrate missiles and other projectiles from the sky with a pulse of energy.
By Daily Mail Reporter
State-owned Rafael Advanced Defense Systems said the futuristic military hardware called Iron Beam was almost ready for deployment.
It works by firing a focused laser at targets which are heated so rapidly they disintegrate in an instant.
The arms maker publicised specifications of its High Energy Laser (HEL) at this week’s Singapore Airshow, which is Asia’s largest aerospace and defense exhibition.
‘It’s exactly like what you see in Star Wars,’ said company spokesman Amit Zimmer. ‘You see the lasers go up so quickly like a flash and the target is finished.’
The radical system is the culmination of five years to work involving solid-state lasers by 15 engineers, the company said.
Iron Beam is designed to intercept close-range drones, rockets and mortars which might not remain in the air long enough for Israel’s current Iron Dome missile defense system to intercept.
Protection: Israel launches an Iron Dome defence missile in the southern Israeli city of Ashdod in response to a rocket launched from the nearby Palestinian Gaza Strip
Iron Dome batteries have shot down hundreds of rockets launched by Hamas militants from the Gaza Strip at Israeli cities.
With no peace deal in sight and also threatened by Hezbollah in Lebanon, Israel wants to beef up that system and develop further protection.
Avnish Patel, an expert in military sciences at the Royal United Services Institute, said Iron Beam is potentially an effective addition to Israel’s defenses rather than a drastic change.
‘Essentially, its military and tactical utility will be particularly useful in complementing the already proven Iron Dome system in tackling very short range threats such as rockets and mortar fire and in close quarter engagements,’ he said.
- Laser shield can intercept drones, rockets, missiles and mortars
- High Energy Laser rapidly heats an object until it explodes, makers claim
- Rafael Advanced Defense Systems said its lasers destroyed 90% of targets
- System is designed to intercept objects current Iron Dome system cannot
- Current defense system has destroyed hundreds of Hamas rockets
Rafael Advanced Defense Systems said test data show Iron Beam lasers are blasting away more than 90 percent of their targets.
The new system can also be modified so that multiple lasers can be used to hit a target, according to the company. But officials remain tight lipped as to when and how the Iron Beam will be deployed.
Zimmer, the company spokesman, said: ‘It’s very accurate and will help avoid collateral damage.’
He added: ‘When you use lasers, you have an unlimited magazine.’
Besides Iron Beam and Iron Dome, Israel is also developing the next phase of its Arrow system which can intercept missiles in space and the upcoming David’s Sling, which shoots down short and mid-range ballistic missiles.
- Israeli Star Wars ‘Iron Beam’ inches closer to deployment
- Israel’s Rafael unveils new USV for Israel Navy – the Protector
- Israel’s Rafael announces a developed ‘Star Wars’-like laser missile shield
But some feel Israel, which gets significant funding from key ally the U.S. for missile defense capabilities, is going overboard.
Fanar Haddad, a research fellow from the Middle East Institute in Singapore, said Israeli military superiority in the region was so firmly established that Iron Beam was unlikely to change anything in the short or medium term.
‘The development of another layer says more about Israeli paranoia,’ he said. ‘The possibility of a conventional attack against Israel is next to nil and there is hardly a need for five layers of missile defense systems.’
Rafael Advanced Defense Systems would not comment on how much Iron Beam would cost or how much has been invested in it so far.
‘It’s very hard to say. We’re still testing and it can be modified in many different ways,’ Zimmer said.
Other nations and private companies may be keen on using the laser based technology to protect against attacks.
Israel has become one of the world’s leading weapons exporters. Israeli arms companies often point out that they bring with them years of firsthand experience from conflicts with Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, jihadi militants in Egypt’s Sinai desert and Hezbollah guerrillas.
View original Daily Mail publication at: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2559358/Israeli-arms-company-reveals-Star-Wars-laser-capable-shooting-rockets-sky-beam-energy.html