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Israel builds laser weapon to zap threats out of sky

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Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, (L), being shown a new laser-based air defence system at Rafael Advanced Defence Systems on Tuesday.

ISRAEL: After two decades of research and experimentation, Israeli defence officials now say they have a working prototype of a high-powered laser gun that can intercept rockets, mortar shells, drones and anti-tank missiles in flight.

Officials said that the system performed successfully in a recent series of live fire tests in the southern Israeli desert, destroying a rocket, a mortar shell and a drone, and prompting a standing ovation from officials watching the action on screen.

The government has allocated hundreds of millions of dollars to develop the weapon, which Prime Minister Naftali Bennett described this week as a “strategic game changer”. He has pledged “to surround Israel with a laser wall”.

Still, laser weapons have moved from science-fiction movies and the gaming fantasy genre to reality. Israel’s ground-based laser air defence system, named Iron Beam, is intended to complement, not replace, other elements of Israel’s air defence arsenal, including Iron Dome, the well-known short-range missile interception system, as well as medium- and long-range missile interception systems.


Monday, June 6, 2022 – 01:00

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