Despite Its Excellence, Israel's Iron Beam Laser Weapon Has This One Weakness

Despite Its Excellence, Israel's Iron Beam Laser Weapon Has This One Weakness
BORDER Police officer checks a unit at a laser system aimed to intercept incendiary balloons, near the Gaza border.(photo credit: AMIR COHEN/REUTERS)

International Military - Israel's new laser-based missile defense system successfully intercepted drones, missiles and mortars during its test on Thursday, April 14. The Israeli system, called Iron Beam, is designed to complement a range of other air defense systems, including the Iron Dome.

Perhaps the most interesting thing to note is the operational cost, “Iron Beam interceptors are silent, invisible and cost only about $3.50 per shot”, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said in the Times of India. Although there is little information regarding the effectiveness of this laser, it is hoped that it can be used on land, air and sea platforms.

The goal is to deploy them around Israel's borders over the next decade to protect the country from foreign threats.

High cost solution

Israel says its Iron Dome air defense system has had great success, with a 90 percent success rate regarding incoming missile threats. However, officials say that the system (Iron Dome) is very expensive to use. This is in line with the thoughts of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.

“Gaza can fire missiles at Israel for a few hundred dollars, but Iron Dome costs tens of thousands of dollars to intercept them,” a Times of India source said. Bennett added that the Iron Beam laser-based defense system will be applied next year.

Lasers have drawbacks

While the solution is definite for Israel and may open up opportunities for many countries to develop laser-based systems, the reality is that no weapon is perfect. This claim comes directly from the Israeli Defense Minister who says that the Iron Beam does not work well in heavy clouds and other bad weather.

"We can only shoot lasers as far as we can see," Israeli Brigadier General Yaniv Rotem told the Times of Israel.

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