Jan 20, 2014
Israel plans laser interceptor 'Iron Beam' for short-range rockets
The system is designed to deal with threats that fly on too small a trajectory to be engaged efficiently by Iron Dome, the Israeli interceptor credited with an 80 percent success rate against rockets fired by Palestinian militants.
Both shields are manufactured by state-owned Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. While Iron Dome launches radar-guided interceptor rockets, Iron Beam's laser will super-heat the warheads of shells with ranges of up to 7 km (4.5 miles).
Iron Dome is complemented by Arrow II, an Israeli interceptor designed to shoot down ballistic missiles at atmospheric heights. Israel plans to integrate them with the more powerful rocket interceptors Arrow III and David's Sling, both of which are still in their testing phases.
The United States has extensively underwritten the projects, seeing them as a means of reassuring its Middle East ally as instability rocks the region.