Israel's Ministry of Defense directorate of defense R&D, the Israel Air Force and Israeli defense electronics company Elbit Systems Ltd. (Nasdaq: ESLT; TASE: ESLT) today reported that they have successfully completed a series of trials in recent weeks of a laser system, which can intercept rockets, drones, UAVs and other threats at various ranges and altitudes. The system will be operational within three years and its major advantage over the current Iron Dome defense system is that it is much cheaper than the $50,000 that each Iron Dome interception missile costs.
Other advantages of the newly developed airborne high-power laser weapon system include the ability to effectively intercept long-range threats at high altitudes regardless of weather conditions, and the ability to defend vast areas. The system will complement Israel's multi-tier missile defense array, which include the Iron Dome, David's Sling and Arrow missile interceptor systems. This system will increase the effectiveness of air defense against existing and future threats in the region.
During the trials the laser system was installed on a Cessna aircraft and was tested in a number of scenarios. It successfully intercepted and destroyed all of the UAVs that were launched throughout the test. The ability to intercept and destroy airborne threats in the air is groundbreaking and offers a strategic change in Israel's air defense capabilities. Israel's Ministry of Defense said that there was interest from friendly countries (the US) and defense companies in partnering in developing and manufacturing the system.
Ministry of Defense directorate of defense R&D head of R&D Brig. Gen. Yaniv Rotem said, "The Directorate of Defense R&D in the Ministry of Defense, Elbit and the IAF have completed a series of tests employing a powerful, airborne laser system. We successfully intercepted several UAVs in the air, within a range of more than 1 kilometer. This is a groundbreaking technological achievement and it is critical for further development of our airborne High-Power Laser System."
Elbit Systems ISTAR general manager Oren Sabag said, "We are proud to spearhead the development of this strategic capability together with the Ministry of Defense and the IAF. The trials were successful thanks to a range of unique technological assets. We believe that the use of a high-power laser to carry out low-cost airborne interception of rockets and hostile unmanned aircraft, closer to their launching areas and away from population centers, offers a significant change in Israel's defense capabilities."
Israel's Minister of Defense Benny Gantz said, "The laser system will add a new layer of protection at greater ranges and in facing a variety of threats - securing the State of Israel while saving the costs of interception. I am confident that Israel's defense industry will succeed in this important development program, and I will personally work together with the entire defense establishment to ensure its success."
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on June 21, 2021
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