Israel will become the first nation in the world to be protected by a laser defense system, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems chairman Yuval Steinitz said Monday.
“One year from now Israel will be the first country to have partial laser protection,” Steinitz said, according to Galei Tzahal Army Radio.
“In two years, there may be complete protection against missiles, shells, rockets, or anything else. This will protect us both in the south and in the north,” Steinitz said.
Earlier this year, the Israeli defense contractor debuted its high-power laser weapon system, called the “Iron Beam” at the International Defense Exhibition and Conference (IDEX 2023) in Abu Dhabi.
Israel is expected to deploy the system for operational use within the next 18 months or so, most likely on Israeli borders facing Iranian proxy groups — Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Gaza, and Hezbollah in Lebanon and Syria.
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.