A statement by a high-ranking representative of the Israeli government suggests that within the next year, Israel will be the first country to adopt laser protection on a limited scale. According to the official’s remarks, the nation is expected to achieve complete protection within two years.
On August 27, the chairman of Rafael Advanced Defence Systems, Yuval Steinitz, said that Israel will have limited laser defence capabilities within the next year.
He said Israel is projected to be the first nation to implement measures providing partial protection from lasers the following year. As per Steinitz, in the not-too-distant future, comprehensive defensive systems will be developed to defend against a wide variety of projectiles, including missiles, shells, rockets, and other dangers of a similar nature. Steinitz believes this method will simultaneously protect Israel’s southern and northern regions.
The laser defence system is a significant advancement that will have beneficial effects in the future. The system will consist of ground components as well as aerial components as well. In January of this year, Aviv Kohavi, who is stepping down from his position as chief of staff of the Israel Defence Forces (IDF), said that he would approach the process of determining future dates with extreme prudence. Within the next two years, the nation plans to put systems into operation along the border of the Gaza Strip to evaluate how effective this specific piece of technology is.
Experiments conducted in the field have proven that the technology is very effective in accomplishing its goals. If the test goes well, Israel will spend the next two years perfecting the laser defence system in preparation for rapid deployment throughout the Northern region. Kohavi could not provide a definitive commitment for the time that would be required. Kohavi said he didn’t want to be optimistic or pessimistic.
The Iron Beam, developed by Rafael Advanced Defence Systems, has been the subject of approximately twenty years of research and development. It was developed to allow for smooth integration with the Iron Dome air defence batteries that Rafael made. The Iron Dome defence system has successfully neutralised roughly 95% of the airborne threats launched from Gaza.
People familiar with the matter say that the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) expects to save money by integrating the Iron Beam system. This is because firing the laser just costs a few dollars, in contrast to the Tamir interceptor, which can cost up to fifty thousand dollars and requires refilling. As a result, the laser is more cost-effective. The laser has the capability of striking its target in a very short amount of time.
However, the laser system’s operational range is much less than that of Israel’s Iron Dome. The laser system can engage targets within a range of roughly eight to ten kilometres. While the laser can only engage a single target, the Iron Dome can simultaneously neutralise several targets. Ran Gozali, the executive vice president of Rafael’s land and naval division, noted the laser beam’s potential to achieve a focus equivalent to the diameter of a coin at a range of 10 kilometres.
Several other countries have kept a careful eye on the development of Israel’s military capabilities. In December 2022, it was reported that the American aerospace, weapons, and military giant Lockheed Martin would work with Rafael. The purpose of this partnership was to commission Rafael to build and help enable the export of a laser system that was intended to resemble an existing model and was slated for use in the United States.