Against the background of the Iranian missile attack against the USA, the Israel Ministry of Defense (IMOD) has today (Wednesday) unveiled a breakthrough that would enable the development of high-power laser based interception systems. The new technology, IMOD sources explained, will bring about a strategic change in the air-defense capabilities of the State of Israel. Pursuant to the breakthrough, IMOD's Directorate of Defense Research and Development (DDR&D) has launched three programs for the development of high-power laser demonstrator prototypes, in cooperation with defense industries Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and Elbit Systems: development of a prototype ground-based laser system that is to complement the Iron Dome system and provide an additional defensive layer; a maneuvering laser system – development of a prototype mobile laser to provide protection to maneuvering ground forces; and development of a prototype laser capable of intercepting threats above the clouds and defending more expansive areas that may be mounted on an airborne platform.
IMOD sources explained that the advantages of laser interception are: low-cost continuous use; upgrading of the effectiveness of the existing defensive layouts by using two different and complementary technologies – kinetic air-defense (e.g. Iron Dome) and laser-based air-defense; intelligent interception management with minimum employment of interceptor missiles; the potential of intercepting additional threat types such as drones, UAVs and in the future – high-precision rockets as well.
"Over the years, DDR&D has invested substantial efforts in advancing the technology of high-power lasers. Numerous developments, from Israel and overseas, have been tested and proven ineffective. Recently, some significant achievements have been reached pursuant to the cooperation between DDR&D, the defense industries and elements in the academic world. These achievements were made possible pursuant to the development of electrical-powered laser, contrary to the chemical laser used thus far," the IMOD sources noted.
The technological breakthrough is based on the accuracy of the laser beam. Using the new technology, the defense establishment managed to focus and stabilize the beam on targets at long distances, while overcoming atmospheric interference. This technology makes it possible to develop effective interception systems offering a high degree of operational effectiveness, which would constitute an additional layer in the effort to defend the State of Israel in the air, on land and at sea.
Addressing the recent breakthrough, Minister of Defense Naftali Bennett stated: "The Israeli mind continues to lead with groundbreaking innovations. The laser project will make the defense system more lethal, powerful and advanced. This is a significant tier in the empowerment of the security of the State of Israel. Alongside the existing tools of war, we will add a laser sword to face the threats, in the north and south. We are moving with full momentum, and the clear message is: Israel has immense capabilities, both defensive and offensive. The enemies of Israel will be well advised to avoid testing our patience and potential."