Israel set to deploy Iron Beam laser missile defense system in 2015
TEL AVIV — Israel has been preparing for initial deployment of its laser missile defense system.
Officials said Israel would deploy the Iron Beam high-energy laser defense system in 2015. They said Iron Beam, developed by the state-owned Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, has undergone successful operational trials.
An artist’s impression of the Iron Beam engaging an inbound projectile.
"The system has made excellent progress, and we could expect an acceleration of efforts to deploy and operate over the next few months," an official said.
Iron Beam, secretly developed for the last five years, was introduced at the Singapore Air Show on Feb. 12. Rafael executives were said to have briefed foreign military delegations of the system's capabilities and pledged that Iron Beam would become operational in 2015.
Officials said Iron Beam, reported to contain a 90 percent interception rate, would not replace any existing missile defense systems, particularly the tactical Iron Dome. They said the truck-mounted Iron Beam, which also employs fiber-optic lasers, was designed to intercept mortars, tactical rockets and unmanned aerial vehicles at a distance of seven kilometers. They said several Iron Beams could be used against heavy rockets.
Rafael was said to be still developing Iron Beam and experimenting with a range of configurations, including mounted or fixed-site operations. A key issue has been determining the design and capabilities of a power pack, the most problematic element of any laser weapon.
"Iron Beam was meant to protect military bases, critical sites and small communities from mortar and very-short-range rocket attacks at a fraction of what Iron Dome would cost," the official said.