The Defense Ministry is looking into the possibility of acquiring a US-developed laser system that neutralizes the tips of missiles, as well as a cannon for defense against mortar shells and artillery, The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday. Two weapons production companies in the US have been in touch with the Defense Ministry to discuss selling Israel systems to defend against Kassam missiles. The Northrop Grumman company recently spoke with government officials regarding the sale of a laser-powered missile defense system. The company claims the system proved itself from an operational standpoint, but the Pentagon decided it preferred a smaller and cheaper system. The Raytheon company also caught the Defense Ministry's interest with a rapid-fire cannon for defense against mortar shells and artillery. According to the report, Northrop representatives presented the system to Defense Minister Amir Peretz. "We are looking into a possible deal," said Dan Wild, a Northrop manager who participated in the meetings. The Northrop system, "Skyguard," was developed by joint US-Israeli funding and cost $400 million. Skyguard's radar system identifies the incoming threat and fires a high-powered laser beam that strikes the missile tip and stops it in mid-flight. The Raytheon system, the "Phalanx," is qualitatively different. It includes an advanced cannon that rapid-fires at a rate of 4,500 bullets a minute once the radar fixes on a target. The system was originally intended for the Marine Corps, but was converted to ground use.