On April 14th, 2022, Israel successfully tested its laser interceptor system called Iron Beam. It’s the first energy-based weapons system that uses a laser to shoot down incoming UAVs, Mortars, and rockets at a cost of $3.50 per shot compared to Iron Dome’s Tamir interceptor, which costs between $20,000-$100,000 each. It’s been reported that Israel fires two Tamirs at each incoming target to ensure success.
Paul Iddon of Forbes tells us, “The first variant of the system is ground-based. And the official also disclosed that there will also be air and even space-based Iron Beam systems in the future.” He writes (abridged):
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has repeatedly hailed the Iron Beam laser defense system that Israel is developing as a major military and economic advance.
Israel has successfully tested the new “Iron Beam” laser interception system.
This is the world’s first energy-based weapons system that uses a laser to shoot down incoming UAVs, rockets & mortars at a cost of $3.50 per shot.
It may sound like science fiction, but it’s real. pic.twitter.com/nRXFoYTjIU
— Naftali Bennett בנט (@naftalibennett) April 14, 2022
“Rafael’s laser system is a strategic game-changer for the State of Israel and the world as well, a system that already today knows how to shoot down mortar rounds, UAVs and rockets,” Bennett said during his visit to a Rafael facility on May 31. “This is a game-changer because we can not only strike the enemy militarily but also weaken it economically.” […]
The official pointed out that it’s the first successfully tested system of its kind in the world. And when asked, affirmed that the incumbent Israeli government considers the Iron Beam “revolutionary.”
The system is most effective against short-range threats such as rockets, mortars, drones, and anti-tank missiles. It can engage such threats from up to 2,000 meters away. The first variant of the system is ground-based. And the official also disclosed that there will also be air and even space-based Iron Beam systems in the future. […]
Bohl anticipates that the Iron Beam has the potential to make it cheaper for Israel to defeat rocket and drone attacks “so long as the system performs as well in a real combat situation as it does in testing.”
“There’s also a question of the logistics of supporting the system and the price of the supply chain — the $2 a shot may be a headline phrase that in practice doesn’t quite pan out,” he said. “There’s also a question as to whether or not Hamas or other militants might find their own ways to cut costs to keep pace with the economics of Israel’s defensive systems.”
“But the biggest challenge is that the system will take years to deploy at scale, and so, in the near term, Israel will still need to rely on the expensive Iron Dome system.”
In February, Bennett said the Iron Beam would eventually form a “laser wall” around Israel to shield the country from numerous threats.
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