Iron Beam

Quick Facts

Variants None
Role and Mobility Short-Range Laser Air Defense; Road-Mobile
Interceptors and Range High Energy Laser; 7 km
Sensors

Air Defense Radar

Mobile Surveillance and Tracking System

Targets Rockets, Artillery, Mortars, and UAVs
Status/Exports In Development; N/A
Designer/Producer Rafael Advanced Defense Systems

Overview

Iron Beam is a directed energy laser air defense system designed to complement the Iron Dome missile defense systems deployed in Israel.[i]The system uses a high-energy fiber optic laser to destroy airborne objects within four to five seconds of firing.[ii]Current power levels of the lasers are in the tens of kilowatts and are expected to increase for greater destructive capability.[iii]

The system consists of an air defense radar, a command and control unit, and two High Energy Laser (HEL) systems. It is designed to target short-range rockets, artillery, and mortars.[iv]

It was first revealed to the public at the 2014 Air Show in Singapore.[v]

Strategic Implications

 Iron Beam will be used to complement the Iron Dome system by targeting threats that fly on too short a trajectory for Iron Dome to intercept.[vi]Because it uses directed energy interceptors, the system will cost less to operate than a conventional kinetic option would. Other benefits include an unlimited organization, lower operational costs, and less required manpower.[vii]Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, the developer of the system has said that test data shows a success rate of more than 90%.[viii]

Timeline

February 2014:Iron Beam is unveiled to the public at the Singapore Air Show.[ix]

2009:Development begins on the Iron Beam.[x]

Recent News

    References

    [i]https://www.nwitimes.com/news/opinion/columnists/guest-commentary/allan-katz-iron-beam-enhances-u-s-allies-security/article_8e6eab3d-bc28-5714-8d98-0b5e2854b508.html

    [ii]Ibid.

    [iii]Ibid.

    [iv]http://www.armyrecognition.com/weapons_defence_industry_military_technology_uk/israeli_army_idf_expects_to_deploy_new_rafael_iron_beam_laser_air_defense_system_this_year_1301154.html

    [v]https://www.timesofisrael.com/rafael-unveils-laser-shield-at-premier-defense-show/

    [vi]http://www.armyrecognition.com/weapons_defence_industry_military_technology_uk/israeli_army_idf_expects_to_deploy_new_rafael_iron_beam_laser_air_defense_system_this_year_1301154.html

    [vii]https://www.nextbigfuture.com/2015/01/israel-should-deploy-iron-beam-high.html

    [viii]https://www.timesofisrael.com/rafael-unveils-laser-shield-at-premier-defense-show/

    [ix]https://www.popularmechanics.com/military/weapons/a10070/israel-wants-to-use-lasers-to-shoot-down-missiles-16507560/

    [x]Ibid.

    Air Defense