Israeli defense contractor Rafael last month debuted its high-power laser weapon system – the “Iron Beam” – at the International Defense Exhibition and Conference (IDEX 2023) held in Abu Dhabi.
The Iron Beam is designed to neutralize moderate threats, such as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), rockets, artillery and mortar shells, using a 100-kilowatt or more directed energy weapon.
Those operating the system can choose whether to use standard kinetic missiles or the Iron Beam’s laser – but the laser provides a lower cost-per-shot and minimizes collateral damage, according to Rafael. Another advantage of the system is its unlimited magazine.
“We can actually focus the beam to the diameter of a coin in a 10-kilometer range,” Ran Gozali, executive vice president of Rafael Advanced Defense Systems’ land and naval division, told National Defense Magazine.
“When you do surface-to-air interception, you have air turbulence effects that diffuse the rays,” Gozali said. “We compensate for it in the transmitter to really focus the beam on the target for multiple seconds.”
The system is intended to support the world-renown Iron Dome anti-missile defense system, geared to intercept short-range threats.
Israeli officials displayed the Iron Beam as part of the country’s multi-tiered aerial defense array in a presentation for President Joe Biden shortly after his arrival on July 13, 2022 at Ben Gurion International Airport.