A new air defense system being developed by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, which uses lasers to shoot down low altitude threats, is able to bring down "mortars like flies," Rafael's CEO told the Israel Defense website on Wednesday.

Vice Admiral (Ret.) Yedidia Yaari, former chief of the Israel Navy, said the Iron Beam system will be "very effective" once it becomes operational.

Israel Defense cited Yaari as saying that that Iron Beam successfully passed a feasibility test, and is currently in development stages.

Iron Beam fires lasers at mortar shells, and has proven a high rate of accuracy, Yaari said, describing the system as "highly impressive." It was first unveiled formally by state-owned Rafael during the Singapore Air Show last month.

The system is designed to deal with threats that fly on too small a trajectory to be engaged efficiently by Iron Dome anti-rocket batteries.

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 - which will intercept ballistic missiles in space - and David's Sling - designed for large rockets and cruise missiles - both of which are still under development.

The United States has extensively underwritten the projects, seeing them as a means of reassuring its Middle East ally as instability rocks the region.

An industry official, who asked not to be named, told Reuters in January that Iron Beam would form the "fifth layer" of integrated missile defense.

Reuters contributed to this report

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