Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, an Israeli owned arms company, unveiled what is being dubbed a “Star Wars” style weapon that will revolutionize the way Israel is able to defend itself against incoming close range rocket, missile, and mortar attacks.
The new weapon, called Iron Beam, utilizes laser shield technology that is able to shoot down incoming missiles. Once the target is acquired using radar, thermal cameras track the incoming projectile and focus laser beams about the size of a coin on the target. Using a pair of multi-kilowatt solid state lasers, the weapon shoots laser beams at targets and heats them up so swiftly that they immediately disintegrate.
Iron Beam was officially unveiled at the Singapore Airshow, Asia’s biggest aerospace and defense exhibition. Describing the efficiency and quick response of Iron Beam, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems spokesman Amit Zimmer said, “It’s exactly like what you see in Star Wars. You see the lasers go up so quickly like a flash and the target is finished.”
Initial testing data of the new weapon showed that Iron Beam had an over 90 percent success rate. The system can be configured so that multiple lasers can you used to hit a target at the same time. Iron Beam is meant to be used against incoming projectiles that are at a range of approximately 2 km, which is not long enough to be shot down by Iron Dome.
After five years of research and development and a team of 15 engineers, Iron Beam will be used alongside Israel’s very well known and successful Iron Dome defense system. Iron Dome costs approximately $100,000 to operate per battery. The Iron Beam system will cost significantly less to run.
Since January, Israel has seen a non-stop onslaught of rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip. The Iron Beam system would be the lowest level of defense in Israel’s multi-level defense system, behind Iron Dome, David’s Sling, Arrow 2, and Arrow 3.