Israel to develop “Iron Beam” high-power laser system

Minister of Defense Benny Gantz has approved the allocation of a significant budget to develop and produce a high-power laser system designed to intercept rockets, mortars, and UAVs. The initial investment amounts to hundreds of millions of NIS

Israel to develop “Iron Beam” high-power laser system

Aftermath of rocket attack from Gaza on southern Israeli city of Ashkelon, May 2021. Photo: REUTERS/Baz Ratner

The Directorate of Defense R&D (DDR&D) in the Ministry of Defense has achieved a technological breakthrough in the development of the “Iron Beam” high-power laser system. In the coming days, the Ministry of Defense will sign an agreement with Rafael to develop the system, which will be integrated into Israel’s multi-tier air defense array. The “Iron Beam” is expected to be cost-effective and operationally efficient.

Following a series of discussions over recent months, Defense Minister Benny Gantz approved the allocation of hundreds of millions of NIS for the development and production of the “Iron Beam” system. Director General of the Ministry of Defense, Maj. Gen. (Res.) Amir Eshel, will sign the agreement in the coming days, enabling further development of the system.

The development plan for “Iron Beam” will be led by the DDR&D in the Ministry of Defense together with Rafael and Elbit Systems. Following the initial investment, the next stage will include the allocation of additional hundreds of millions of NIS to complete the process.

This morning (Thursday), the Minister of Defense toured the Rafael compound together with the head of Research and Development at the DDR&D, Brigadier General Yaniv Rotem, the CEO of Rafael, Maj. Gen. (Res.) Yoav Har-Even, and General Manager at Elbit Systems ISTAR & EW, Oren Sabag, where they were presented with the system. Subsequently, the Minister of Defense approved the plan’s progression according to the work plan and the agreement with Rafael.

Minister of Defense Benny Gantz: "Today we are advancing towards a dramatic change in the battlefield and enhancing Israeli security in the face of growing threats on our borders with Gaza, Lebanon, and Syria, backed by Iran and terrorist organizations.

"The high-power laser system constitutes a strategic change in Israel’s defense of the home front in addition to the political and operational echelons’ flexibility during combat. As in the past, the DDR&D, Israeli industries, and the defense establishment continue to maintain Israel’s operational edge and save lives through creativity, flexibility, and ground-breaking technologies.

"We will do everything we can and allocate the necessary resources to complete the process as quickly as possible, and I am sure that along with the unprecedented operational and security gain, our investment will also lead to great economic gain for the State of Israel and ground-breaking collaborations with our allies."

Head of Research and Development in the DDR&D in the Ministry of Defense, Brigadier General Yaniv Rotem: "The fruition of this program based on high-power laser technology is the product of many years of investment led by the DDR&D’s Research and Development Division together with the defense industries. Our decision to incorporate laser systems will lead to a significant increase in Israel's defense cappabilities."

Rafael's CEO, Maj. Gen. (Res.) Yoav Har-Even: “Rafael is proud to lead the development and supply of the ‘Iron Beam’ system, the most powerful laser system of its kind in the world. After many years of research and development, we see this strategic plan as a significant milestone in Israel's air defense capabilities.

"Similar milestones throughout the last decade include the development of ‘Iron Dome’ and ‘David’s Sling’ systems which combine groundbreaking technologies that place the State of Israel at the global forefront of the air defense field. I have no doubt that the same will be true in the laser Field." I thank the Ministry of Defense for their trust and for leading this important move."

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