With Israel facing an increasing threat of a barrage of enemy rockets as well as war with Iran, the Jewish state has developed a working prototype high-powered laser system known as “Iron Beam” to intercept aerial targets, such as mortars, rockets, and anti-tank missiles, and drones, bringing down the cost of interception from tens of thousands of dollars to cheaper than a McDonald’s Big Mac.
Reuters reports the laser-based air defense system is in prototype form and has been successfully tested in Israel’s South by the Defense Ministry’s Directorate of Research and Development and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems.
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett commented on the Iron Beam, calling it “a game-changer, not just because we are striking at the enemy military, but also because we are bankrupting it.”
“Until today, it cost us a lot of money to intercept each rocket. Today they (the enemy) can invest tens of thousands of dollars in a rocket and we will invest $2 on the electricity for intercepting that rocket,” Bennett continued.
Let’s do some math:
If firing a rocket at Israel costs terrorists $20,000
Intercepting that rocket costs Israel $100,000
What would happen if Israel’s new “Iron Beam” laser system could intercept that rocket at $2 per shot?
Tables turned on terror & an equation redefined. pic.twitter.com/VWlWKEZpAk
— Naftali Bennett ??? (@naftalibennett) June 1, 2022
Palestinian and Lebanese forces have launched thousands of rockets and mortars into Israel, costing the government tens of millions of dollars in interception costs. Each Iron Dome interceptor missile around $50,000.
Fielding Iron Beam could be several years away — and is a move to modernize forces with laser weapons that appear to be from a science-fiction movie.
“There is a lot of promising laser work going on,” Thomas Karako, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, told NYTimes. “This isn’t ‘Star Wars’ science fiction anymore.”
For years the US Army has been working on lasers. The service is reportedly working on a laser weapon system that’s a “million times stronger” than anything ever used before, able to fire bullet-like pulses of light to vaporize drones, cruise missiles, and mortars.
Countries developing laser weapons have one goal: bringing down the cost per round of costly interceptor missiles.