Laser air defenses will 'bankrupt' enemies firing rockets - Bennett

“The system knows how to down mortar shells, unmanned vehicles and rockets," Bennett said of the new laser defense system.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and the Magen Or platform (photo credit: GOVERNMENT PRESS OFFICE)
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and the Magen Or platform
(photo credit: GOVERNMENT PRESS OFFICE)

A laser system that Israel is developing to intercept incoming enemy rockets will not only make rockets ineffective against Israel, but will also bankrupt Israel’s enemies, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said on Wednesday.

Laser defense

Bennett made the remarks during a visit to a factory of Rafael Advanced Weapons Systems, which is the lead contractor in developing the groundbreaking system.

“This is ground breaking not only for Israel but for the entire world”

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett

“The system knows how to down mortar shells, unmanned vehicles and rockets,” the prime minister said. “It is groundbreaking not only because we can hit the enemy with military means, but we can also financially bankrupt them.”

Iron Dome replacement

Bennett added that, until now, an Iron Dome interceptor cost tens of thousands of dollars each to intercept a single incoming enemy projectile. With the laser system, “the enemy will invest tens of thousands of dollars and we will invest just two dollars of electricity,” he said.

In April, Israel took a significant step toward achieving the operational capability of its groundbreaking laser system by carrying out a series of experiments, downing a variety of aerial threats at “challenging ranges,” the Defense Ministry said at the time.

 Prime Minister Naftali Bennett visits a Raphael facility  (credit: GOVERNMENT PRESS OFFICE) Prime Minister Naftali Bennett visits a Raphael facility (credit: GOVERNMENT PRESS OFFICE)

The experiments, which were carried out in Israel’s South by the Defense Ministry’s Directorate of Research and Development (DDR&D, or MAFAT in Hebrew) and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, saw the laser system known as “Iron Beam” successfully intercept a number of aerial targets including unmanned aerial vehicles, mortars, rockets and anti-tank missiles in various scenarios.

Defensive layers

Israel’s comprehensive protective umbrella, which counters growing missile threats, includes the Iron Dome design to shoot down short-range rockets. Also included are the Arrow (Arrow-2 and Arrow-3) system, which intercepts ballistic missiles outside of the Earth’s atmosphere and David’s Sling missile defense system, which is designed to intercept tactical ballistic missiles, medium- to long-range rockets, and missiles fired at ranges between 40 to 300 km. (25-185 miles).

However, these systems are expensive, while the laser system costs only a few dollars per pulse. It will be used alongside the Iron Dome to intercept aerial threats.