Israel Considers Lasers to Defeat Growing Rocket Threat

Israel Considers Lasers to Defeat Growing Rocket Threat

Speaking to a crowd in Tel Aviv last month, former Israeli National Security Adviser Yaakov Amidror emphasized a common Israeli concern about future conflicts. “Whatever will be the scenario,” he said, Israel “will have to deal with many missiles and rockets.”

But, he added, Israel now faces “a new scenario” because “the numbers now are so different.” He pointed especially to Hezbollah’s arsenal, estimated by some senior Israeli officials at 100,000 projectiles. Israel has therefore been building up its layered active defense systems, and last week an Israeli firm unveiled the newest layer at the Singapore Air Show: the laser-based Iron Beam system. According to the designer, it is intended for use “against rockets, mortar and airborne target attacks.”

The new system, which uses solid-state lasers and is designed for use on mobile platforms, is intended to intercept short-range projectiles at a range of a few kilometers. It would complement the much-discussed Iron Dome system, which—according to official Israeli estimates and a number of observers—has been highly effective against rockets launched by militants in the Gaza Strip, with a range of approximately 70 kilometers.

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