ISRAEL’S one-of-a-kind Iron Beam laser gun has fired down a rocket shot from the Gaza Strip.
This is the first time that a laser-based air defence system has been used operationally to intercept an attack in a war zone.
Israel’s Iron Beam has been used to shoot down a rocket from the Gaza Strip[/caption]
The system works by firing powerful beams of light into the sky to turn the object into dust.
Although the initial aim was to roll out the weapon by 2025, Israel has been accelerating the development due to their conflict in Gaza.
They are now aiming for it to be fully operational by next year.
It has been claimed that over a hundred engineers are currently working on the project.
The manufacturers, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, have said that is designed to intercept short-range missiles and projectiles.
Rafael said it is “designed to intercept a wide range of threats such as from a distance of a few hundred metres to up to several kilometres”.
The company claim that the Iron Beam’s 100-kilowatt laser and 7km range, means that it wipes out threats with pinpoint accuracy and causes almost no collateral damage.
As the system can protect vessels from drone swarms and anti-ship missiles, it’s set to be used both on land and at sea.
Dr Yehoshua Kalisky, from the Institute for National Security Studies, believes the system could be fully operational imminently.
He said: ” I think it will be operational very soon.
“The laser works. The only problem that I see is to integrate it into all the early warning systems.
“It’s not a standalone system. It must be coupled with all the air defences. If it’s not integrated then it would be useless.”
It has become the sixth element of Israel’s missile defence system – joining the Arrow 2, Arrow 3, David’s Sling and Iron Dome.
Uzi Rubin, a missile defence expert at the Israeli Ministry of Defence, said the Iron Beam is a cheaper alternative to the Iron Dome system.
Instead of costing $60,000 for each firing of the Iron Dome, he said a laser beam can cost “just a few dollars”.
Israel’s Iron Dome is also one of the first missile interceptor’s of its kind in the world.
It is designed to destroy short-range rockets and 155mm artillery shells fired from a distance of 4km to 70km.
The Iron Dome was manufactured to intercept rockets that are travelling in the direction of urban areas and bring them down.
Israel plans to increase the range of the Dome and upgrade it so that it can eventually stop rockets from coming from two directions.
Meanwhile, just days ago the IDF said that their fighter jets attacked Hezbollah bases in Lebanon through their Iron Sting system.
The Iron Sting is specifically designed to strike targets in urban areas with a frightening accuracy of over 90 per cent.
It was first unveiled in October, and in its first operational use it launched a powerful mortar bomb and took out a Hamas rocket launcher.
Israel has been ramping up its weaponry and defence systems since the October 7 attacks by Hamas.
On Monday evening it was declared that 11,240 Palestinian people had been killed in Gaza, a statistic which includes 4,630 children.
The figures have been doubted by Israel, although they have international grounding from the UN’s World Health Organisation.
Recently, Israel has had to revise their own death toll – revealing that 1,200 people have died, instead of the 1,400 they had been claiming.
Lebanese rockets were intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome missile defence system[/caption]